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Sleep. 1995 Feb;18(2):82-7.

Naps in children: 6 months-7 years.

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  • 1Northwestern University School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


A cohort of 172 children was followed from 6 months to 7 years of age to determine how nap patterns change with age and whether there was individual stability of nap patterns. Results showed that there were no differences in nap patterns based on gender, ordinal position, whether naps spontaneously disappeared or were stopped by the parents, and the number of naps at 6 months of age. Total daytime sleep remained a stable individual characteristic between 6 and 18 months of age. Age was associated with hours napping (r = -0.73, p < 0.001) and number of naps (r = -0.52, p < 0.001). A pattern of two naps per day was well established by 9-12 months of age and one afternoon nap by 15-24 months. The modal duration of naps from 2 to 6 years was 2 hours. During the 3rd and 4th year, napping occurred in the majority of children, but at decreasing rates. A minority of children were napping at 5 and 6 years and naps usually disappeared by age 7.

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