Regular Naps Improve Nighttime Sleep

As per sleep research and varied experiences of mother, the length and quality of naps affect the nighttime sleep. Babies differ in their napping requirements. This article throws light on your baby’s nap timing, sleepy signals or movement patterns in order to set the routine for your baby.

This way your baby becomes habituated by identifying the cues from your side that her napping time is near.

Age, No. of naps & Hours of naptime

4 months: 3 naps, 4-6 hrs

6 months: 2 naps, 3-4 hrs

9 months: 2 naps, 2.5-4 hrs

12 months: 1-2 naps,2-3 hrs

2 years: 1 naps, 1-2 hrs

3 years: 1 naps, 1-1.5 hrs

When should your baby nap?

Nap timing is very important. Too late naps in a day will negatively create an impact on your baby’s night time sleep. Certain times of the day are perfect for napping because they accommodate your baby’s biological clock; these suitable periods balance sleep and wake time to create an impact on your baby’s night time sleep in the most positive manner.

Every baby is unique, but usually, the best nap times are as follows:

  • Baby taking naps three times : mid morning/early afternoon/early evening
  • Baby taking naps two times: mid morning/early afternoon
  • Baby taking one nap only : early afternoon
  • Watch your baby’s sleepy signals!

    When your baby shows tiredness signs, it is the time for a nap to happen immediately. If you wait too long, she becomes overtired, “wired up,” and unable to sleep.

    Once you know about your baby’s nap needs you can plan a nap schedule in order to start the wind-down process. If constant naps are new to you to appear more for your baby’s signs of tiredness and cut back on the schedule until you settle into a predictable pattern. It means, don’t start a lengthy pre-nap schedule if your baby is clearly prepared to sleep.

    Watch for these signs of tiredness, your baby may show one or more of these:

    • quietening down

    • decreasing activity

    • losing interest in people and toys

    • looking “glazed”

    • rubbing eyes

    • yawning

    • fussing

    • laying down

    • caressing a lovey or asking for a pacifier, bottle or to nurse

    Timing is very essential!

    You have most likely experienced this situation: Your baby looks fatigue and you think, it’s time for a nap. So, you wash your baby’s hands and face, change the diaper, answer a phone call, put out the dog and head for a baby’s cradle or the family bed, only to discover that she’s suddenly fully awake and agitated to play.

    What happened? Your baby has moved through her tiredness and starts playing another hour or two before she re-enters her tiredness again. This can usually happen later in the day. Suddenly, your baby is prepared for a nap at timing of dinner, so the question arises-do you keep her for a late nap and thus extend bedtime, or let her stay awake and deal with a tired, fussy baby? Rather than face this agony and get her in for her nap right at that time.

    After watching your baby closely for a week or so, you should be capable to make a nap routine that works with her daily timings of staying awake and tiredness, thus making your nap routine easily stick to.

    The nap routine

    Once you’ve created a nap routine for your baby, it is very essential if you create a simple but particular nap routine. This routine should be separate from your nighttime routine, although it can have the same features of the signal sleep. For example: the presence of a sweet or special sleep-generating music. Adhere to your nap routine the same way every day.(Except if your baby is demonstrating the specific signs of being tired and ready to sleep. Then abbreviate or even remove your routine for that day.)

    For an unwilling napper, your routine might consist of some relaxing movements like relaxing/rocking in a swing/walking in a stroller or a sling, and some pleasant lullaby music.
    A nap routine doesn’t need to be lengthy and involved to be effective. If your baby’s nap happens at the same time every day there will be many precise cues, such as the timing of his lunch makes your baby aware that his nap time is coming.
    Better naps is always meant for better nighttime sleep.

    Napping Needs of Most Babies

    1. For 4 months baby

    Number of naps : 3

    Hours of naptime : 4-6

    2. For 6 months baby

    Number of naps : 2

    Hours of naptime : 3-4

    3. For 9 months baby

    Number of naps : 2

    Hours of naptime : 2 1/2 – 4

    4. For 12 months baby

    Number of naps : 1 – 2

    Hours of naptime : 2 – 3

    5. For 2 years baby

    Number of naps : 1

    Hours of naptime : 1 – 2

    6. For 2 years baby

    Number of naps : 1

    Hours of naptime : 1 – 1 ½


    Always check your baby’s signs for tiredness then only set your baby’s routine. This way, your baby will also become habituated and will alert you every time that it is the time for his nap. If you delay the nap time, then it may have a consequences of staying him awake all through the night. So, it’s better to give your baby the cue at times, that it is the time for his nap.