In the second half of a baby’s first year, parents often wonder if babies will ever sleep longer stretches at night. By the age of 12 to 18 months, most children have settled into a schedule of two naps a day as their bodies transition from needing long stretches of sleep during the day to shorter bursts of sleep at night. If you’ve been getting by with only two quick naps a day from your lovable little munchkin, you may be wondering if your baby will ever sleep longer stretches at night. Thankfully, the answer is yes! By their second year, most babies have the social and physical skills to transition from taking two naps to taking only one nap a day. We outline the best ways to help your baby transition to a single napping schedule to get the rest you and your little one need.
What is a Single Nap?
Immediately following birth, babies sleep the majority of the day. Children start to distinguish between day and night from around three to four months of age, and by around one year of age, they have established the daily rhythm of taking one or two naps per day. Each child has different sleep and developmental needs. Babies who used to sleep all day are awake for longer periods of time around the age of one, so this is the perfect time when to transition to one nap. When a baby is less than a year old, the typical routine recommended in parenting manuals is one nap in the morning and one nap in the afternoon. From there, the baby’s morning sleep gradually fades and they just take a single nap. As your little one grows, the amount of sleep they need during the day will depend on how long and how well they sleep at night. For older babies, a single nap is necessary because too much nap can impact their developmental progress and evening sleep.
The Benefits of Single Napping
Napping has massive benefits for your baby. Some of the most common are listed below.
Your toddler may feel tired without recognizing it after a full day of play in the morning. A nap will help them recover from your exhaustion. This will encourage your child to resume physical activity in the afternoon.
Maintaining Mental Health
Children between the ages of 2.5 and 3 years old who do not nap had higher levels of anxiety, according to one study. They also discovered drawbacks such as lower sensations of excitement and interest, as well as decreased problem-solving abilities. Naps are actually beneficial to your child’s mental health.
Improving Learning Efficiency
Several universities in the United States have performed research on sleep and learning. These studies suggest that sleep increases memory, learning ability, and the capacity to guess at things in general. Naps can also help children learn better and increase their memory.
Melatonin is thought to be actively secreted by children during sleep. Melatonin, a sleep hormone, is responsible for causing people to fall asleep. Melatonin controls the circadian rhythm, reduces cell oxidation, and boosts the immune system. Melatonin has also been demonstrated to be useful in the therapy of cancer in recent years, making it a significant hormone for disease prevention and cell oxidation. Parents hope to strengthen children’s immune systems by making effective use of naps.
Establishing a daily rhythm
Children are more likely to acquire a regular rhythm if they nap at the same time each day. If your child has sleep issues, such as problems falling asleep at night or a short wake-up time in the morning, you should reconsider nap timings. The quantity and duration of naps will vary based on the child’s age , but it is advisable to adjust the timing so that the child may sleep soundly.
Smooth nighttime sleep
When your child is having trouble falling asleep, avoiding naps can impact their nighttime sleep. After being stimulated during the day, napping is thought to help the body and brain recuperate and calm down. Many children who do not nap well are agitated until bedtime, making it harder for them to sleep and leaving them prone to grogginess. In contrast, excessive napping may make it difficult for them to fall asleep at night. In spite of the fact that they may be tired from their daytime activities and fall asleep, it is better if you wake them up by 3 p.m.
How Long Does a Single Nap Last?
Napping should last between an hour and an hour and a half. You should also aim to wake them awake no later than 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Naps have their benefits, but if the nap is too lengthy or the child wakes up too late after a nap, the child’s nighttime sleep quality will suffer, and the child may not receive enough sleep. When a baby is deeply sleeping, waking him or her up may cause discomfort. Try to wake your child while he or she is in a light nap, such as when he or she begins to toss and turn or move around.
How to Transition From a Double Nap to a Single Nap
Babies who have been sleeping and waking frequently start sleeping less and less during the day, and by the age of one, many babies only take one nap each day. Naps are essential for creating a daily routine. Many children, however, may struggle to go to sleep at first when to transition to one nap, so here are some napping tips.
When to transition to one nap, Adjustments should be made by studying your child’s sleep and activity patterns.
- There will be days when they do not take their evening nap when to transition to one nap, and days when it may be somewhat okay if they do not. To avoid being overtired on days when they do not go to bed in the evening, put them to bed 30 minutes earlier, or even an hour earlier in some situations.
- It’s easy to believe that if they go to bed early, they’ll wake up early, but if you try to put them to bed at the same time every night without an evening nap, they’ll be too exhausted and have a variety of bedtime issues, including tossing and turning and nighttime weeping. This can result in late-night and early-morning awakenings. The idea is to get them to bed before they become exhausted.
- It is acceptable to have a somewhat later bedtime on days when to transition to one nap and have evening nap during the transition period. Allow for a progressive shift over a two-week period, gradually reducing the nighttime sleep and transitioning to two sleeps, a morning nap, and a nap. Then it’s two naps to one nap. Rather than switching to a single nap all at once, we encourage a gradual adjustment.
- One-year-olds will most likely become sleepy 5 to 6 hours after waking up. Set a lunch time for them to nap at that time. If you try to coordinate your child’s early outdoor play to correspond with this period, his or her daily routine will automatically become more ordered. After naptime, bedtime can be established by scheduling food, afternoon play, and baths at the same time.
- Too much napping is a concern as well, but forcing the baby to wake up would only make the situation worse. As a result, you should be cautious about when and how you wake your baby. The ideal time is when the baby’s arms and legs are wriggling. The baby is in a stage of shallow sleep when it wriggles its arms and legs, and you can gently wake it up. We propose talking gently to your infant and brightening the room to help him or her wake up naturally.
Naps are highly crucial for a baby’s development, thus we must be very attentive about the duration and frequency of naps, as well as the surrounding environment during naps. Napping has numerous advantages, but it does not have to be forced. Naps that are taken at your baby’s pace are the most comfortable.