The following is a guest post from a a certified sleep consultant. She and I talked about what topic to share on my blog and agreed on the importance of naps. I am a huge believer in naps being so imperative to a baby’s life and love that a sleep consultant says the same thing! Our kids have always slept well and never fought nap time because it was such a normal thing for our family. I hope you enjoy this guest post on why naps are imperative for your baby’s growth and development!
Why Naps are Imperative for Your Baby’s Growth and Development
As a mom of three, and a certified pediatric sleep consultant, I have ALWAYS protected my children’s naps and made sleep a priority in my household. I put sleep first because I knew it was a need not a want, PLUS if I regularly skipped naps my children would have meltdowns and who wants that, NOT ME!
Yes, of course I have received comments from family members and friends about arriving to events late or leaving early to get back in time for nap time. However, I have learned to ignore those comments and do what’s best for me and my children, plus I also happen to know a lot about sleep science and why children need sleep. 😉
If you are new to motherhood, it’s no surprise to you that your little one needs sleep and A LOT of it. In fact, a newborn baby sleeps between 16 – 18 hours in a 24 hour period. By the time your little one reaches one year of age, they still need between 14 – 15 hours of sleep which includes 3 hours of day sleep A.K.A napping. That’s a whole lot of sleep. But do you know why sleep is so important, specifically the important role that naps play in your baby’s growth and development? Well keep on reading and let me explain why…
Naps are important to your child’s mental and physical development
According to the National Sleep Foundation “Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts physical and mental development.” This is supported by research and findings that show that many of the major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep. When a baby gets the sleep they need, energy is restored, bones grow and develop, and the immune system strengthens.
A napping child has the ability to learn and retain more information
Children that are not napping well are prone to difficulty concentrating, poor attention spans and tantrums. This could lead to a delay in meeting milestones because the child is simply too tired to conquer it. Naps are equally beneficial to pre-school aged children as well. According to a study released by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) children that napped in the classroom enhanced their learning and memory. The findings were determined by teaching 40 preschool children a memory game. In short, the preschoolers who had a nap of just over an hour on average 10-percent more items than those who were kept awake. This positive effect of the nap reigned true even during a test the next morning, added the study.
A child that takes naps is a better night sleeper
If your child is not clocking in the proper day sleep she needs it can result in one very overtired baby. Or if you allow your little one to stay up for too long during the day (A.K.A wake windows) it will result in their little bodies creating adrenaline and cortisol which both hormones fight sleep. This may make it harder for you to get your little one down for bed at night and can result in a poor night’s rest for everyone involved. So be sure to protect those naps and keep those wake windows age appropriate!
A child that naps makes for a happier parent
Ok, so maybe this doesn’t directly relate to your child’s growth and development, however, I still think it’s worth mentioning. There’s no shame in admitting that you look forward to nap time. I am a working stay at home mom, and I need nap time to recharge my batteries, take a shower or quickly catch up with a friend. I absolutely I love to race cars down my son’s toy ramp, but let’s be realistic, I have other things to accomplish in my day – such as helping parents like you!
Lastly, sleep is essential to our child’s health and well-being. If your baby or toddler is not getting the rest they need then chances are you aren’t either. I’m here to help you and your family get the sleep you need and deserve. Want to learn more about pediatric sleep? Visit my website / blog at www.pediatricsleepcoach.com or FOLLOW ME over on Instagram @the_sleepcoach.
Desiree Baird is a certified sleep consultant and a mother of three. Her two eldest children are boy/girl twins. As a twin mom, Desiree experienced many sleepless nights the first 5 months of her twins’ life. She felt helpless and decided to study sleep on her own so that she could ensure her twins became better sleepers and were set up for success. Eight years later when Desiree became pregnant with her third baby, she decided to take her sleep education to the next level by becoming certified. Her mission is to help moms —especially twin moms — all over the world with sleep consulting. She is a Pittsburgh, PA, native residing in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit her website at www.pediatricsleepcoach.com and follow her on Instagram @the_sleepcoach.
I hope you enjoyed this post on why naps are imperative for your baby’s growth and development. Let us know what you think down below!