Implications of napping into and beyond kindergarten on sleep, diet, and the awakening cortisol response

Alyssa Anne Cairns

Abstract

This study is an examination of sleep distribution, dietary intake, and endocrine function of caregiver-reported Nap and Non-Nap Groups of children before and after they transition to an all-day kindergarten where napping is reduced or eliminated. Measures were assessed the summer prior to kindergarten, within two weeks, and after a month of the transition to kindergarten. The study revealed that the transition to kindergarten was associated with changes in sleep and dietary intake. Endocrine function remained stable as children transitioned to kindergarten. On average, Nap and Non-Nap Groups equally lost total sleep time as they transitioned to kindergarten. However, the Nap Group lost nap sleep, whereas the Non-Nap Group lost nighttime sleep. Children experienced an advance in weekday and weekend sleep periods. The sleep quality data were consistent with the notion that the transition to kindergarten was associated with an increase in sleepiness. On average, children reduced their breakfast intake as they transitioned to kindergarten. Also, changes in sleep were proportional to changes in breakfast consumption.