Is Napping Unnatural: 15 Signs That Point To Yes

What is as blissful to a mother as her baby sleeping peacefully, whether its at night or during the day. Finally she gets a bit of that much longed-for peace and quiet.

Well, sadly, ‘all good things must come to an end.’ Just a beach vacations and chocolate cakes get over too quickly, this good stuff ends too. Naps that were a regular part of the baby gradually decrease and then stop altogether.

Whether it be that your baby no longer needs a nap or she/he is sleeping too much, there are several signs that warn when napping is no longer a natural happening. Unnatural napping can be a signs of underlying illnesses. Forcing children to nap when they no longer need it also leads to negative health consequences.

Babies naturally nap for longer in the first 12 months of their life. During 15 to 18 months of age, they transition to needing just one nap in the daytime. Some kids are done with napping by the time they turn two while while other may need their afternoon nap past the age of five. On an average most kids stop napping the afternoon between ages of two to four.

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15 Not Sleepy At Nap Time

If a child is not sleepy at his regular nap time and takes a long time to fall asleep, it can be indicative that he longer needs his afternoon naptime. As the toddler grows older, she can handle more awake time. So avoid that parental urge to force them to take a nap. When she was younger, she would grow tired faster and get cranky when she needed her nap.

As she grows older, her strength and endurance is increasing and she longer gets tired as she did earlier. She is slowly transitioning away from her naptime. When her mother tries to put her to sleep, she resents it as she is neither sleepy not tired.

14 Sleeping Late At Night

This is a classic sign that a toddler does not need her afternoon nap. But because he/she was forced to sleep in the afternoon, now the bundle of energy is alert and raring to go. Even if the sleepy, frustrated parents manage to tuck them into bed, they still take a long time to drift off to sleep.

Babies and toddlers send out many signals if they are tired and sleepy. Their activity levels slow down, they start whining and fussing, yawing, rubbing their eyes and so on. Each child will have his own version of cues that their mothers can easily identify. His body is pumping out calming 'melatonin' which will allow him to drift off to sleep happily. This is a very natural process that shouldn't be forced. If you try to force a child to sleep in the afternoon, you are upsetting this natural rhythm of his internal clock.

Even if they do go to sleep late, they may still wake up early due to this strong internal clock. So parents who allow their child to stay up late are simply going to end up with an overtired kid the next day who will again need to nap in the daytime. With such a messed up internal clock, the child may also find it very difficult to wake up in the morning.

13 Late Wake Up Times

When the little one finally manages to sleep late in the night, she ends up waking really late in the morning. The haggard mom who has to drop her at the daycare is running late for work and baby dear is still fast asleep.

Forcing her to wake up triggers her ‘monster’ alert and you little angel turns into a full blown wailing monster. The late wake up time leads to a vicious cycle of sleeping late at bedtime. Even toddler who wake up at normal times put up a fight a bedtime as they are capable of handling more awake time. But it is important that proper sleep routines be established and a consistent bedtime enforced. Children thrive on consistency and routine. Is the day time napping is affecting his night time sleep routine, then it's definitely high time to stop it.

12 Waking Up At Ungodly Hours

If your child consistency wakes up too early in the morning, this a sign of a disrupted circadian rhythm. He has probably been napping too much during day time. Or it might be that he was resisting being made t nap, os the nap time ended up much later in the day.

If he is tired, cranky and has to have a nap, then make it a short one. It's better to put him to bed a little late than have him up and about at 4.00 in the morning. This kind of a behaviour is seen typically in children aged 3 to 4. If he takes a nap and falls asleep late, thats one problem. But if he's up early in the morning despite his late night, then you seriously have to find a way to stop the day time napping.

11 The Sleep-Awake Cycle

The circadian rhythm is the 24 hour body clock in the human body that determines the sleep-awake cycle. Every human including the babies have this. Disturbing the circadian rhythm can lead to napping at odd times during the day.

This clock decides when to make us feel sleepy and when to keep us energized. Forcing children to take naps when they don’t need it disturbs this rhythm. A disturbed circadian rhythm is likely to lead to sleepiness during the daytime.

Establishing regular sleep habits helps the circadian rhythm work better. The child should be put to bed and woken up in the mornings at the same time. Forcing him to take naps even on the weekends will disturb his internal clock and play havoc with this overall sleep routines.Allowing him to stay light night and watch the TV or play games will also disturb the circadian rhythm. This make him cranky and irritable the next day. He will also have trouble focusing on his tasks.

10 Toddler Is Not Tired Or Cranky

A toddler who is not cranky despite skipping his afternoon sleep is ready to transition to just sleeping at night. Forcing him to sleep when he doesn’t want or need to is unnatural.

Every child is different in nature and has different needs. 2 to 5 year olds who actually need a nap in the afternoon will get irritable and cranky by then. Trying to force these kids to stay awake will make both your lives miserable. But if the child is active, alert and happy, then there is no requirement to get into power struggles and force him to sleep. If you still somehow do manage to finally put him to sleep, you are in for the same power struggle at bedtime as he will be active for much longer.

9 Nap Transition Periods

During a nap transition period where a toddler is transitioning from having his daytime nap to completely stopping it, he sleeps on some days and stays active on other days. He may go on an activity mode for three days, but on the fourth day he may need his nap. He may simply be irritable and cranky on this fourth day and you may not figure out that it's because he needs a nap.

But on the other days, he will be a happy child. Some children may not exhibit high energy levels during the noon time, but they are not sleepy either. Nap transition period may go smoothly for some children while for other it's a rocky journey. Some children may just simply stop napping from one fine day and never have a problem with that. Whatever the scenario, the parent should allow the child to follow his natural body clock.

8 The Quiet Time In Bed

A child who is does not need an afternoon nap can still need a little quiet time. As I said earlier this differs from child to child. A quiet time watching cartoons or sitting with their toys can keep such children occupied. If the child is in a nap transition stage, put her toddler in bed with some books and small toys and allow her to play quietly for an hour. This is a win-win for all involved.

If the child is a little more energetic and will not settle down in his bed for his quiet time, then this is the ideal scenario for some screen time. Put on some action rhymes on the TV or computer and leave him with it. You do need to keep an eye out for him, but he will either act along with the songs or he may just sit and watch engrossed. The quiet time is more about giving the child and environment to relax in. Do not involve him in anything that provides too much stimulation.

7 Sleeping Immediately After A Meal

It's not healthy for anyone, especially children to sleep immediately after a meal. It's difficult for the body to digest the food when we are not in an upright position. If sleeping after eating is a frequent occurrence, it can lead to a number of digestive diseases.

The problems of sleeping immediately after eating are evident in adults. according to a study done at the University of Ioannina Medical School in Greece, going to sleep right after a meal can increase your chances of having a stroke. In the study using 500 people, the researchers found that those who waited for the longest between eating and sleeping were at the lowest risk for stroke. Acid reflux and heartburn are also common in those who sleep immediately after having meals.

6 Weight Gain

Another negative effect of sleeping immediately after a meal is that the body does not get a chance to burn off the consumed calories. This results in weight gain. Forcing children to sleep too often and for too long can lead to lethargy and lack of activity. This can also lead to weight gain and obesity.

This is again another vicious cycle. As the child gains weight, he becomes more lethargic and sleepy. A preschooler may feel embarrassed or maybe even bullied by other children. This may lead to loss of self esteem and anxiety. Yes, even kids as young as toddlers can suffer from depression. According to a study on “Preschool Depression,” researchers found that preschoolers as young as 3 can show signs of major depression. Depressed children become more withdrawn and they are lacking in energy and enthusiasm.

5  Illnesses Such As Cold And Flu

When a child who usually doesn’t nap is found drowsy, lethargic or in deep sleep during the day time, alarm bells may start ringing for the parents. Just as they suspect, the child may be sleeping more because she is unwell. Illnesses can often contribute to a child sleeping at odd times and for long periods.

Many mothers may panic at this time as it may be hard to find out what exactly is wrong with the baby or the toddler. The child may be coming down with a cold or the flu. As it develops further, the child will usually have a mild temperature. Children who sleep for too long may be suffering from hypersomnia. This may be a result of many different medical conditions including obesity. Whatever be the case, the parents should allow the child to nap and take him to a doctor for further treatment if necessary.

4 Growth Spurts

When an active an alert child is found sleeping more often and longer, the concerned parent may not be able to find any real problem. A growth spurt may be the cause of this harmless change in napping pattern. You may find that the child sleeps longer in the morning or goes to bed earlier than usual.

If this is the case, the it's better to just go with the flow of it. Allow the toddler to set the sleeping schedule as he pleases and you need to adjust your schedule to it. During a growth spurt, this extra sleep is important. But you needn’t worry, this is a short phase which will pass soon. You will find him up and running in no time with no more need for naps. But the pants that fit him last month will suddenly be above his ankle after the growth spurt.

3 Teething

One of most common reason for excessive daytime napping in babies is teething. While some babies are cranky during the teething phase and refuse to sleep properly, there are many who just sleep a little more instead.

The ones who sleep more are probably the ones who are suffering more from the teething. The symptoms that are commonly seen along with teething include plenty of mucus and low grade fever. And like during a flu phase, the baby sleeps longer as the body recovers from all this onslaught.

These kind of naps may not be deep slumbers, instead they maybe more on and off types. You may find the baby sleeping fitfully and waking up in tears. She may drop off to a deeper slumber towards the morning and wake up much later. Medical intervention is not usually needed though you should keep an eye on that low grade fever. Mild pain medications may help the baby sleep better at night.

2 Hypothyroidism

If your child is unusually sleepy during daytime and naps a lot, you may need to check his thyroid levels. Babies born with thyroid problems look totally normal with no obvious symptoms at all. Thyroid problems need not be congenitive, it can develop at any stage. Babies with hypothyroidism are more sleepy and difficult to feed. Hypothyroidism can be easily detected with a simple blood test. Once diagnosed correctly, it can be easily treated.

Constipation, low muscle tone, cold extremities and poor growth are some of the other symptoms that accompany hypothyroidism, though they may not be very prominent initially. It is best if hypothyroidism is diagnosed before the more serious symptoms develop. Babies are normally screened at birth for hypothyroidism. If treatment is started early, the likelihood of a significant long-lasting effect is low.

1 Juvenile Diabetes

Napping in children who show constant lethargy, urinates frequently and is always thirsty may be a sign of juvenile diabetes. If your child is been diagnosed with diabetes, you're not alone.

13,000 children are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year in the United States. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age though it is most often diagnosed in children and adolescents. Its exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder.An infection or another trigger causes the body to mistakenly attack the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.This results in the pancreas losing its ability to make insulin.

There is no way to predict who will get type 1 diabetes and there no way to prevent it from happening. There is nothing that you or the child did that caused the disease. Once type 1 diabetes is diagnosed, it cannot be cured and will require lifelong treatment.

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