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As much as nighttime sleeping is important for kids, daytime naps can matter just as much. Parents should ensure their child is getting the adequate amount of sleep and rest they need each day and night. Not only that, but it’s great for their health and mood. There are benefits of napping when it comes to kids, especially ages 5 and under. Naps give children a rest for their mind a body. It helps them grow and develop and allows them to recharge. Also, children often times have a harder time falling asleep at night when they are over tired due to not napping, in turn making it harder for them to get up in the morning.
One of the benefits of napping is how it impacts a child’s mood. All parents know that when their child sleeps more, their overall mood is better. They see how their child is during the day when they do not nap and this can bring a day of tantrums, tears and frustration. In a study done on 2 year olds, they found that when they skipped their naps, they were less happy, more anxious, and reacted more negatively to stressful events. Researcher Rebecca Spencer noted that “a common observation of parents and preschool teachers is that children seem either grumpy or giddy when they skip their nap.”
Usually, the child is cranky and irritable towards the afternoon, around the time when they miss their nap. They tend to be inattentive, impatient, and hyperactive as well as display aggressive behaviors. This also causes hardship on the parents, caregiver or teacher. Not only does nap time benefit the child, but could benefit the ones watching them as no nap could cause unwanted hardship and stress.
Learning is another benefit of napping. Nap time is proven to help kids learn better. In a study, it was shown that children who napped (paired with a full nights rest) performed better at a memory game as they were well rested. Because of nap time, they were able to focus more on school work and other tasks.
During the time when a child naps, there is a lot that is happening. The brain processes and stores memories that are the foundation of learning. Sleeping is what helps the brain store these bits and pieces of information. Skipping naps could potentially lead to a 10% decrease in the child’s memory. A study done by Rebecca Spencer showed that children who napped performed better during the day than children who didn’t nap. Spencer stressed to schools that they should focus on encouraging nap opportunities as it is beneficial for the child’s learning and memory.
Napping helps the child stay healthy and fit. Studies have shown that children who do not get the adequate amount of sleep needed and have irregular sleep patterns also suffer from higher rates of obesity. This is because the lack of sleep causes the child eat poorly, focusing more on unhealthy, sugary foods that keep them energized and moving when their bodies are really tired.
Less hours of sleep may also affect certain hormones causing them to feel hungrier than they actually are. These same hormones could also affect the child’s energy level. Children who are tired do not have as much energy as those who get the right amount of sleep. Due to this, they are not as active and do not get enough exercise which is fundamental to maintaining a healthy weight.
Benefits of Napping
The benefits of napping are mainly in the child’s early years, from newborn to age 5. After that, nap time is not necessary, but may benefit older children as well depending on each individual child. Nap times do not need to be long, especially for older children. Thirty minutes is sufficient. Shorter nap times do not disrupt the child’s night time routine, but gives them the rest they need to recharge. But each child is different and parent’s should see which nap routine works best for their child while still providing for a timely nighttime sleep routine.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 5 SIGNS YOUR CHILD IS READY TO GIVE UP NAPS.