Sleeping Toddler Boy

Naps can benefit babies by boosting their memories, but as your child grows, too many naps may actually worsen sleep patterns.

Researchers in Australia reached this conclusion after analyzing 26 studies focused on the affect of napping on kids' health and social development. The age range covered in the studies varied from birth to 5 years old.

The researchers also reached the conclusion that poor sleep patterns had a negative impact on weight, cognitive functioning, and emotional health.

"The evidence suggests that beyond the age of 2 years, when cessation of napping becomes more common, daytime sleep is associated with shorter and more disrupted night sleep," Karen Thorpe, a professor in development science at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, told TODAY Parents.

The latest study isn't too surprising, as longer naps could make it difficult for kids to fall asleep later and stick to a more regular bedtime routine. And it makes a case for decreasing naps as kids age, especially as toddlers transition from two naps to one.

However, not all scientists are persuaded by the study for a few reasons, reports Live Science. The age range focused in the 26 studies offer too many variables, sleep pattern data supplied by parents may be inaccurate, and there are no other studies that confirm significant differences between day and nightime sleep for kids. Also, kids who nap during the day may have chronic sleep issues that require them to catch up on sleep.

Instead, most experts agree that getting your child on a consistent sleep schedule is more important than worrying about whether your child is napping too much or too often.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for She loves collecting children's picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Photo of sleeping toddler boy via Shutterstock