Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Nap? No Problem!

Afternoon nap has been a staple of our family's existence for quite a long time now, so it was a little scary to let it go. Turns out, this one adjustment has brought about some major positive changes! It actually seems a little too good to be true.

Let me back up a bit, and explain how we got to this point and why we decided to make the change.

When Big Brother was about 15 months old, he transitioned from two naps a day to one mid-day nap. It was actually the first time in his life that he was napping on a consistentent schedule. Little Brother followed the same pattern and by the time the boys were 3.5 and 1.5, they were usually taking their nap at the same time lying side-by-side. Even though this was a daily occurance for a solid year, I could never seem to get enough pictures of my two sweet boys napping together. ♥♥

Skipping nap was a rare occurrence. Nap time may not have always been convenient, but we felt it was necessary for the health and happiness of the children. We had experimented with no-nap from time to time over the years, but major meltdowns usually ensued.  It seemed clear that they both still needed a nap.

However, the past few weeks there were a few issues that prompted another no-nap experiment.

First of all, we were having some serious problems getting them to sleep at night.  A bedtime of 10:30PM or later was becoming the norm.

The second issue was that Big Brother was napping around 3 hours, much longer than Little Brother's 1-to-2-hour naps. Trying to wake him up early was nearly impossible. He was in a deep sleep, and usually remained incredibly drowsy and lethargic for the first half hour or so that he was awake.

This was the critical issue here....Big Brother was getting into an extremely low state. He is also in this low state when he first wakes up in the morning. Until recently, I never really understood the importance of maintaining an even, balanced state throughout the day, and avoiding severe highs and lows.

Once this point finally sunk in, it became obvious that Big Brother's nap was not serving him well at all. The nap was actually creating a severely low state that set him off balance for the remainder of the day. No wonder dinner-time has always been such a fiasco for us!

We still weren't sure if eliminating nap was the solution. What other consequences might come of it? Is Little Brother old enough to not have a nap? We gave it a try anyway.

We were utterly shocked at the immediate changes we saw in our children - especially Big Brother! Before, his low periods were immediately followed by intensely-high periods filled with obnoxious sensory-seeking behavior (crashing, running, loud noises, impulsive and mischievous behavior, etc.). Now, he is so much calmer and even throughout the day.  The difference is remarkable!

Little Brother, on the other hand, tends to be more consistently low throughout the day. Frankly, I'm still trying to understand how his little motor runs. All I know is that he has responded very well to this major change in his sleep schedule, and also appears to be more even throughout the day.

Another good outcome is that they are both going to sleep effortlessly no later than 8:30PM, and they still sleep to their normal wake-up time of about 8AM.  Great news!

It's only been a couple weeks, and I guess it's hard to say how the dust will settle. They both seem tired at times throughout the day, but I'm hoping this will fade as they get use to the new schedule. In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy this little glimpse into what "normal" looks like!


  1. Thanks for following Lucas on his journey : )

    I can't get over how much your little one looks like Lucas when he sleeps!

    Don't even get me started on sleep issues! Lucas has to go for a sleep study on Oct 25th. He averages 3-4 hours a day even taking Melatonin!

  2. The Raccoons' GrandmotherOctober 15, 2010 at 11:24 PM

    this opens up a lot of opportunities for daytime activities. can't wait to see the details in future posts.