If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
The duration of an individual nap, the number of naps per day, the number of naps per week, and the age when napping ceases are all factors influenced by parents:
In a 2021 study on baby sleep, nine-month-old infants were evaluated twice under two separate conditions:
“We used an elicited imitation task, in which infants learned new objects and actions before their morning and afternoon naptimes. In the Nap-Nap condition, infants’ memory was probed following both naps. In the Wake-Nap condition, infants were kept awake for their morning nap but engaged in an unrestricted afternoon nap, with memory tested across the morning wake period and after the afternoon nap.”
“In the Nap-Nap condition, infants showed memory retention across morning and afternoon naps. In contrast, infants forget items learned across morning wake in the Wake-Nap condition. Moreover, morning wake was associated with a significant decline in post-nap retention of items learned in the afternoon. We conclude that two naps per day (rather than one) aids memory at 9 months. We were surprised to find that infants’ memory decline was only significant for their afternoon memory performance. That is, infants’ memory decay in the Wake-Nap condition was only significant for items learned in the afternoon, following an unrestricted afternoon nap. Taken together, these findings suggest that skipping a morning nap, while possibly being modestly detrimental to morning learning in infants, may disrupt the afternoon nap’s ability to protect and consolidate memories learned later in the day.”
If your baby needs two naps, skipping the morning nap impairs your baby’s brain’s ability to learn in the morning and especially in the afternoon, even after a single mid-day nap. The single mid-day nap does not fully restore your baby’s brain’s ability to remember what was learned before the nap.
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