Home / 育児・教育 / 無理なお昼寝は逆効果!?子供のお昼寝に大切なこと
眠る子供
眠る子供

無理なお昼寝は逆効果!?子供のお昼寝に大切なこと

眠る子供

子供が朝にぐずついたり、保育園に行きたくないとだだをこねる、なかなか夜寝てくれない…そういったお悩みを持つ子育て中の方もいるのではないでしょうか。

無理なお昼寝がそれらの原因になっている可能性があります。

お昼寝が必要ではない子供にまでお昼寝をさせることで生活のリズムが乱れていませんか。

子育てにはマニュアルもなく、個人差も大きいものです。育児書を見てもそれぞれで言っていることが異なり、一体何が正しいのか間違っているのかわかりにくいのが現状です。

そこで、本記事では、子供の昼寝について発表されている2つの研究と、子供のお昼寝で大切なことをご紹介していきます。子供のお昼寝について気になる方はぜひ本記事を参考にして、子供の睡眠について考えていきませんか。

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子供のお昼寝についての説

眠る子供

子供のお昼寝についての説は色々とありますが、最近注目されているものとしては「昼寝は能力を高める」という説と「昼寝不要説」の2つなのではないでしょうか。同じ子供のお昼寝なのになぜこのように真逆の説が出てきてしまうのでしょうか。

昼寝は子供の能力を高めるという説

米国科学アカデミーの機関誌に掲載された研究報告によると 「未就学児童の昼寝は学習能力を高める」とのことです。

マサチューセッツ大学のRebecca Spencer氏らは、3歳以上6歳未満の子供40人を対象にして、様々な知能テストや脳の活動状況を調べました。すると、昼寝をしたときは、昼寝をしなかったときより、学習に関わる脳の活動が活発になることがわかったというのです。

子供達には神経衰弱のようなカードゲームで遊ばせ、2時間後に昼寝をとらせます。そして、1時間15分程度の昼寝のあと、再度カードゲームをさせるというものになっています。この結果と、昼寝をさせずに再びカードゲームをさせたものと比較しています。

上記のテストの結果、昼寝をしなかったときにスコアが10%程度下がってしまったそうです。しかも、翌朝同じテストをしたところ、昼寝した子供は前日のスコアと同程度だったのに対して、昼寝のなかった子供はスコアが低下したままだったとのことです。

このような結果から、子供の昼寝には疲労回復だけでなく、学習能力にも重要な役割があることがわかります。子供の学習能力を上げるためには昼寝が大切といったところでしょうか。

子供の昼寝不要説

対して、日本睡眠学会理事であり江戸川大学学科長である福田一彦教授は、無理な子供の昼寝は必要ないとのスタンスを取っています。

昼寝を中止している保育園の4歳児と昼寝をしている同年齢の子供のデータを比較すると、昼寝のある子供は1~2時間程度就寝時間が遅くなったり、眠りの質が下がるという結果が出たようです。

昼寝は身体を休めるためにも大人にとっても大切と言われています。しかし、まだ幼い子供は、昼寝をしても夜の睡眠と同じような深い眠りについてしまうため、そのような結果になるとのこと。

昼に深い眠りについてしまうことで就寝時間の遅れや生活習慣の乱れに直結してしまいます。それらが朝の機嫌が悪い、保育園や幼稚園に行きたがらないといった行動につながると指摘されています。

また、そのような深い眠りになっても、昼寝には睡眠不足を補う効果はなく、昼寝を無理にさせる必要はないということでした。

良いお昼寝とは

子供のお昼寝は学習能力を高める効果があるけれど、無理に寝かせると生活のリズムが狂ってしまいます。しかし全くお昼寝をさせないわけにもいきません。そこで、生活のリズムを崩しにくいとされるお昼寝の方法をご紹介していきます。

2歳以下はお昼寝必要
上記の研究の結果は3歳~学校に入るまでの期間の子供に限定されています。というのも、生後2年以下の子供はまだ日中に起き続けていられるほど脳が発達していません。小さなお子さんは無理におこす必要はないようです。

長時間の昼寝は生活リズムの乱れのもと
マサチューセッツ大学の研究では昼寝時間は1時間15分でした。そして、多くの保育園では1時間30分程度昼寝の時間が設けられています。福田一彦教授の研究がその時間だと仮定するなら、1時間30分以上の長い昼寝は体内リズムを崩しやすいという結論になるのではないでしょうか。一般的には3時間以上の昼寝はよくないとされているようです。

昼寝の時間は早めに
昼寝をする時間も生活リズムの乱れに関係していると言われています。お昼寝をさせるなら、午前中もしくは午後の早い時間が良いとされています。

それらの時間が良いとされている理由のひとつに逆説睡眠になりやすいという理由があります。逆説睡眠は睡眠中も大脳が働き、脳を育てると言われています。また、午後の遅い時間に昼寝をすると長時間睡眠になりがちで、夜の睡眠に影響が出やすいようです。

子供にも個人差がある
この2つの研究には個人差が考慮されていません。大人は8時間睡眠が健康に良いと言われていますが、短時間睡眠が合っている人もいれば、ロングスリーパーの人もいます。大人に限らず子供にも個人差はあります。

体力のある子や成長が早い子は他の子に比べて早い時期にお昼寝をしたがらなくなるのではないでしょうか。体力のない子や睡眠が必要な子はお昼寝が大切ですが、必要のない子を無理に昼寝させるのは夜の睡眠に関わるため良くありません。

最近では保育園でも、強制的に寝かせるのではなく、寝たい子は寝かせて寝たくない子は遊ばせておくといった対策をしているところもあります。育児書や研究でどのような結果が出たとしても参考程度にして、直接子供の状態を確認して昼寝が必要なのか、逆に昼寝がいらなくなったのかを判断していくことがもっとも大切なのではないでしょうか。

まとめ:子供のお昼寝には

ここまでで、昼寝に関する2つの説と良いお昼寝をするための方法をご紹介してきました。子供のお昼寝に関してのまとめは下記の通りです。

  • 昼寝は学習能力を高める効果がある
  • 不必要な昼寝は生活のリズムを崩す
  • 小さな子供は昼寝が大切
  • 長時間や遅い時間の昼寝は睡眠を乱しやすい
  • 直接子供の状態をみて判断する

昼寝が必要ではなくなった子供に無理に昼寝をさせたり、長時間の昼寝をさせると生活のリズムが乱れ、お子さんにとっても保護者の方にとっても大変な負担になります。そこで、自分の子供にあった睡眠をお子さんの状態から探り、適切な睡眠をとるようにしてみてはどうでしょうか。

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