Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Something else that can make nap time easy or difficult for young children has to do with their natural sleep cycles. Everyone has a kind of “clock” inside of their bodies that tells them when they are hungry or sleepy. The cycle of this clock is called circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the patterns of sleeping, waking, eating, body temperature and even hormone releases in your body over a twenty-four hour period. How much children need to sleep, when they feel tired, and how easily they can fall asleep are all related to their circadian rhythms.
Meeting Each Individual Child’s Sleep Needs Thinking about the circadian rhythms and temperament reminds us how each child is different. That is why it is important to have nap times that meet the needs of all children in your care. Helping young children to learn to recognize their bodies’ needs and find ways to meet those needs is the very important skill of self-regulation.