Naps – those incredible moments of reprieve, where the world slows down, and you get to steal an actual real-life HOT coffee *dreamy*. As adults, we know the rejuvenating magic a brief nap can bring to our lives, from sharpening our focus to rekindling our creativity and enhancing our overall alertness – naps really never lose important right!
But here’s the secret: naps aren’t just for grown-ups. They play a vital role in the lives of our little ones, too. In fact, for babies, napping is far more than a luxury; it’s a necessity. Naps contribute significantly to their physical and mental development, and they even boost your baby’s memory.
THE SCIENCE BIT
During sleep, our bodies grow, recover and restore. These processes are crucial for brain development and memory formation. In order to highlight this, a recent study using young children less than one-year-old came up with some interesting results!
During the study, the children were shown some new and different ways to play with some toys that they hadn’t seen before. After the demonstration, half of the children went and had their usual nap, while the other half were kept up during nap time. When the napping was finished, the children were given the same toys to play with without any demonstration.
The children that had napped, were able to precisely demonstrate the action they had seen prior to the naps. The children that did not take a nap showed obvious deficits and were largely unable to remember how to play with the particular toys in the exact ways that they were shown! The study also indicated that even when a child is able to go home and sleep overnight, they still performed poorly with this task the next day.
SO, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It tells us that the children who took a nap were able to move the short term memory of how to play with those toys into their long term memory, allowing them to remember and repeat the actions later on. The study also indicated that when a nap is missed a child cannot compensate their learning with overnight sleep.
There also seems to be additional benefit in having sleep occurring in close proximity to the learning in how the information is retained.
However, as any parent knows, navigating the world of baby naps can be a bit like deciphering a cryptic code. How many naps should your baby have? When should they occur? How do naps affect nighttime sleep?
So let’s unravel the mystery around ‘how much sleep do babies need’ today! Below are some screen shots from our incredible age-specific Sleep Guides outlining general guidelines for baby sleep from newborn to 2-years-old, feel free to screenshot this and save it to your phone for future reference (you’re welcome!)
As mentioned, these are general guidelines, all children will have varying sleep needs. Some may need more sleep, while others may be comfortable with less. It’s essential to pay attention to your baby’s cues, such as sleepiness, crankiness, or yawning, to determine if they are getting enough rest.
We recommend establishing a consistent sleep routines and creating a sleep environment that supports sleep! You can download a copy of this from our website – watch for the pop-up! If you have concerns about your baby’s sleep patterns, consider consulting with us for personalised guidance.
Happy napping team!