London – Children who take an afternoon nap over the age of two don’t get such good quality sleep, say researchers.
Length and quality of sleep is linked to child health and development, and parents and carers have been encouraged to let toddlers take a daytime nap.
However, the researchers wanted to find out what impact napping has on a child’s night-time sleep quality – as well as behaviour, cognition and physical health.
They reviewed the available published evidence for napping in children up to five. They pooled data from 26 studies and analysed the findings which were published online in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
They found consistent, but not particularly high quality, evidence indicating that napping beyond the age of two increases the amount of time it takes for a child to fall asleep and shortens the overall amount of night-time sleep. However, the impact of napping on behaviour and development is less clear-cut.