The Third Nap – a “bonus” nap which is simply used to keep your baby rested until bedtime. It is the only nap that doesn’t serve an actual biological purpose or occur during a circadian rhythm. Naps one and two occur during one of your baby’s biological sleep waves and actually serve two different biological purposes: nap one is mentally restorative for your baby and nap two is physically restorative. We know this fun fact from studying what the brain is doing during these naps. According my favorite pediatrician Dr. Marc Weissbluth, this occurrence is evidenced by the fact that “there is more REM sleep in the morning nap compared to the afternoon nap.” And we know from research that REM sleep is directly related to brain maturation and restoration and that non-REM sleep is replenishing for the body. So while these two naps are hard at work on developmental growth – the third nap is simply a crutch to get us to bedtime without becoming woefully overtired.
Amy Lage is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Family Sleep Institute certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant. She is founder of Well Rested Baby (www.wellrestedbaby.com). She offers a host of services including in person, phone, email and Skype/FaceTime consultations that can be tailored to meet any family’s needs and schedule. Amy, her husband Jeff, their 4 year old Stella, their 22 month old Harley, and their two dogs Jackson and Cody live in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Be sure to follow WRB on Facebook too more great sleep tips!