Why Your Toddler May Give Up Napping Sooner Than You Expect

Although the newborn and baby phases are full of sleepless nights and an endless feeling of exhaustion for the parents, it is actually filled with a lot of sleep for the child— or at least thinking about sleep. According to What to Expect, a newborn needs about 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day, and while this number lessens as they get older, babies can still sleep up to 16 hours in a 24-hour period, making nap time a must for children under two. But what about when they reach the toddler stage?

According to Kids Health, toddlers between 1 and 2-years-old need about 11-14 total hours of sleep a day, which usually results in one or two daily naps in addition to their night sleep. Around 18 months is when most children settle on a one-nap schedule. But besides the fact that kids need sleep to function, parents also need a nap time for their own wellbeing. According to Mommy Nearest, parents use nap time to rest, shower, do chores around the house, and simply have quiet time without a child around. So when your toddler suddenly stops napping, it can be extremely stressful. Here's why your toddler may stop napping sooner than you thought they would.

There is a scientific reason as to why some toddlers stop napping early

Toddlerhood is filled with lots of ups and downs. You start to learn who your child really is, which is beautiful and exhausting all at once. As toddlers begin to flex their independence, you may notice a lot of changes to their routine. Foods they once loved will no longer be touched, their go-with-the-flow nature may disappear, and naptime may also become a thing of the past. According to Baby Sleep Made Simple, resisting nap time starts around two years old and is often seen as another way for toddlers to test their control.

But according to U.S. News & World Report, there is actually scientific evidence as to why your toddler may stop napping early. Rebecca Spencer and Tracey Riggins, professors of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have researched why toddlers stop napping, and discovered that it's often due to the hippocampus. In short, the hippocampus is the part of the brain used for learning and remembering, and it's working high-speed when we are young. Little ones often need to sleep to retain information, which is done during naptime. As children get older, their hippocampus grows, and they no longer need that sleep to keep information in their brains. Children whose brains develop quicker may have no need for that nap, causing them to stop daytime sleep altogether.

So if you're wondering why your 3-year-old stopped napping while your friend's 5-year-old is still snoozing for three hours a day, just blame science.