A nap is a daytime delight. The brief period of blissful sleep is so substantial that ‘Siesta’ or early afternoon nap is a tradition in countries like Spain. While napping may be a luxury for adults, it is quite important for kids. Naps are essential for the growth and development of children. It also prevents overtiredness and other sleep disorders like sleepwalking, nightmares and night terrors.
1) How Long to Nap?
Newborns usually don’t have a sleeping pattern. They will sleep for 3-5 hours at a time throughout the day. They need 16-20 hours of sleep every day.
By 3-6 months, babies start to develop a nap pattern and need 2-3 naps per day. During months 9-12, babies need two naps per day. Kids of this age require about 11-15 hours of sleep. They might feel sleep disturbances at this stage.
Toddlers and Preschoolers:
Children of 1-5 years require 10-12 hours of sleep, with 1 or 2 naps. By the age of 5 most kids give up napping. They might still need an earlier bedtime to be properly rested.
2) Signs of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation can bring along many other problems with it. As mentioned earlier, it can cause sleep disorders like insomnia, nightmares, night terrors and sleepwalking. The signs of insufficient sleep are:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Getting bad-tempered and irritable in the afternoon
- Not wanting to get up in the morning
- Being unmindful, impatient, restless and aggressive
- Not being able to concentrate in school and other works
3) Scheduling a Nap Routine
A nap routine can ensure ample sleep and proper sleep habits.
- Observe your child know their sleep pattern. It will help you to plan a napping and sleeping timetable for them.
- After making a routine, stick to it. This will help the kid to get habituated with the schedule.
- Go back to the routine after an interruption happens.
- Don’t schedule naps too close to bedtime, as it might interfere with the nighttime sleep.
- Make a sleeping ritual like telling a story or singing a song so that the kid can fall asleep easily.
Once you’ve developed a routine, enjoy it with your child. Both of you will feel much better.