Agghh! Just when we were thanking whoever invented daytime sleeps for young children, scientists say naps are no longer good after the age of 2.
The reason: a new review study shows that daytime napping for old toddlers and pre-schoolers could cause disrupted sleep at night.
It's common for 2 year olds to sleep for 1-2 hours during the day but the Australian study found that napping in the afternoon could:
- lengthen the amount of time it takes your child to fall asleep at night
- reduce the quality of your child's sleep
- shorten the overall amount of night-time sleep that your toddler needs (cue an even earlier morning wake up call)
The review, which looked at the results of 26 previous sleep studies, found there was no strong evidence to suggest daytime sleeps cause wider health issues. However, the researchers were keen to stress the advantage of weaning children off daytime naps beyond the age of 2.
"To date there is not sufficient evidence to indicate the value of prolonging napping, whether at home or in childcare contexts, once sleep has consolidated into night," say the researchers.
So what does this mean for you?
It could be time to rethink daytime naps. It's not rocket science - if your child is getting too much sleep in the day, he's not going to want to sleep so much at night. However, as we know, all children are different. Just start looking out for the signs that your child is ready to drop naps from the age of 2.
Do you put your pre-schooler down for a daytime nap? Let us know in the comments.