Naps and Nighttime Sleep

Feb 13, 2017

You have likely heard how important naps are in the first few years of life – this much needed downtime is essential for brain development and emotional regulation.  However, successful naps are not always easy.  Age, temperament, and opportunity are just a few things that can impact the quality and quantity of naps; and what naps look like for one child will most likely be different than another.

When naps began to be a challenge or nighttime sleep becomes a struggle, many times parents fall under the incorrect assumption that if they skip a nap, their child may go down easier and sleep better.  However, research has long proven this concept untrue.  Think of it this way: without a nap, or a chance to re-fuel and consolidate new skills, your body has to generate energy to work on staying awake.  This can lead to more bedtime battles and middle of the night awakenings due to overtiredness.  

If you are struggling to get your little one to sleep during nap time, watch for these signs of fatigue listed below.

- Decreasing activity
- Rubbing eyes
- Looking "glazed"
- Yawning
- Fussiness
- Asking for a pacifier
- Asking for a bottle or to nurse 

Once you see these signs, begin a condensed bed time routine as soon as possible. Your routine doesn't need to be elaborate or lengthy. Remember, your baby's sleepy window may not last long, so read his cues and help him get ready for a nap. Over time, you may find that when your baby sleeps during the day, his night time sleep also improves! 

Tags: sleep, Naps
Category: Parenting Topics