Benefits of Napping for Children
Taking naps is a topic of discussion: while many families consider it an essential tradition, others don’t have time during the day to rest. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of napping for children.
Voices For and Against Napping
Many claim that napping is only a necessity for children under 3 years of age. In this way, they can recover from the fatigue they accumulated during the day. Come nighttime, they aren’t overwhelmed, restless and irritated.
Regarding duration, researchers say that up to 6 months old, babies should ideally sleep between 3 and 4 hours, although it may be a little longer in the first months of life. The average amount decreases by one hour between 9 months and one year old.
After two years old, we advise that little ones don’t exceed 2 hours of nap time. This number is reduced by half an hour after 3 years. Finally, from 4 or 5 years old and on, this break shouldn’t be longer than an hour.
Can Napping Be Harmful?
Others, however, point out its inconvenience, especially for children with sleep disorders or respiratory problems. The main reason has to do with taking naps too long, This can cause a headache and drastically alter rest at night.
5 Great Benefits of Napping for Children
Beyond the comments above, there are many more benefits of napping for children. These are the five main advantages:
1. Restores Energy
In addition to the physical fatigue that can be generated from morning to nap time, this daytime break is very positive for the minds of little ones.
During this time, a series of complex processes occur in the brain that help you to be ready to incorporate new ideas, as well as to absorb what you’ve previously learned.
Logically, their muscles also benefit from this pause. After hours of adventures and games, little ones will feel full again to satisfy their instincts of curiosity and research.
2. Improves Their Performance
Different studies affirm that, as much in school as in sports, children who nap are usually more active and attentive than those that don’t. Their main argument is that it diminishes fatigue and improves cognitive performance.
3. Stimulates Sociability
An essential feature of napping is that it offers the possibility of improving your mood, especially in little ones. Therefore, they will be more attentive, patient and in a better mood during the day.
“By taking naps, they can recover from the fatigue they accumulated during the day. This way, come nighttime, they aren’t overwhelmed, restless and irritated.”
4. Allows Growth
During periods of rest, the body generates the so-called “growth hormone” which is actually somatotropin. Of course, this is essential for the growth of little ones.
Also, while asleep, cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine functions are regulated. It’s a very productive rest for your body, whose functioning never stops.
5. Promotes Mental Well-Being
All the advantages mentioned above contribute to promoting the balance of their organism, thereby contributing to their well-being; the mind being one of the most benefited parties. In short, napping allows you to:
- Enhance memory.
- Relieve stress.
- Have a better mood
Tips to Encourage Your Child to Nap
As a mother, you can apply certain strategies to favor the habit of napping in your children. Some examples:
- Establish a routine and respect it.
- Be sure that the nap isn’t too long.
- Prepare a quiet and low light environment. Too much stimuli will prevent them from falling asleep.
- Don’t put your child to bed immediately after eating. Give them a few minutes to digest first.
Now that you know the benefits of napping for children, you’ll surely consider implementing this healthy habit in your child’s life.
Beyond how good it will be for them, it will also help you take a short break and replenish your energy. Get the ball rolling, Mom!
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Thorpe, K., Staton, S., Sawyer, E., Pattinson, C., Haden, C., & Smith, S. (2015). Napping, development and health from 0 to 5 years: a systematic review. Archives of disease in childhood, 100(7), 615-622. https://adc.bmj.com/content/100/7/615?archdischild-2014-307241v1=&int_source=trendmd&int_medium=cpc&int_campaign=usage-042019
- Liu, J., Feng, R., Ji, X., Cui, N., Raine, A., & Mednick, S. C. (2019). Midday napping in children: associations between nap frequency and duration across cognitive, positive psychological well-being, behavioral, and metabolic health outcomes. Sleep, 42(9). https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article-abstract/42/9/zsz126/5499200