New research may change the way parents look at sleep for their kids.
The study, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, looked at the value of napping for children. Parents have nearly always been encouraged to put their toddlers in bed for a nap during the day. Generally, children start eliminating naps around the age of two.
Researchers set out to determine what impact napping has on young children’s health in terms of night-time sleep quality, behavior, cognition, and physical health. They gathered data using 26 studies that analyzed napping in children up to the age of 5. What they found was that for children two years and older, naps may be more of a problem than previously realized.
Results showed a link between napping after the age of 2 and poorer sleep quality in young children. Kids who napped beyond the age of 2 often took longer to fall asleep at night and spent less time sleeping throughout the night. The scientists could not, however, link napping duration and behavior, development, and overall heath due to age differences and napping patterns among children in the study. They recommend taking a look at regular daytime naps among young children with sleep problems.