Many naps, one nap, none: A systematic review and meta-analysis of napping patterns in children 0-12 years

Sleep Med Rev. 2020 Apr:50:101247. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2019.101247. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


The onset of monophasic sleep, in which napping ceases and sleep consolidates into a single night period, is a key developmental milestone of childhood. Yet to date, there is little consensus regarding the timing of cessation of napping in children. The aim of the current study is to examine global evidence regarding napping patterns in childhood, and, through meta-analysis, describe patterns of napping cessation and duration observed in children aged 0-12 y. A systematic search of all published, original research articles reporting children's napping patterns, by age, was conducted. The quality of studies was assessed, and meta-analysis of eligible studies undertaken. Risk of bias and heterogeneity of measurement was high. Current evidence indicates that less than 2.5% of children cease napping prior to age 2, while 94% cease napping by age 5. The preschool period (3-5 y; 36-60 mo) represents a particularly dynamic period in napping cessation, with large variation in rates of napping across studies evidencing potential ecological effects. Future studies should focus on understanding of the underlying mechanisms explaining individual variations in napping patterns and the extent to which patterns of napping may represent a marker of child development.

Keywords: Cessation; Children; Daytime; Diurnal; Infants; Monophasic; Nap; Patterns; Sleep; Transition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors