Why do babies need naps?
While the benefits of nighttime sleep have been well known for decades, science only recently focused on understanding the benefits of naps. Recent studies have shown that daytime naps are directly correlated to a child's vocabulary growth.
Napping has also been found to improve memory consolidation and learning performance for children younger than 2 years old. Sleeping in general has a beneficial effect on physical growth and cognitive development.
Newborns and young infants need many hours of sleep each day. Newborns need about 16–17 hours of sleep every day, and 4-month-old babies need 14–15 hours. By the time a baby is 6 months old, they'll need approximately 13–14 hours of sleep per day.
Since babies' circadian rhythms are still developing, it's important for them to take naps during the day. Babies also tend to become irritable and fussy when they're tired, which makes naps even more important.