Smart and Rested: The Benefits of Naptime for Kids

Young woman sleeping inKids’ napping in daycare may not seem like much, but sleeping youngsters are busy learning. A great deal is occurring in the brain of dozing children in daycare sleeping mats, such as storing and processing memories that are the basis for learning. According to a recent study, this is why naptime is as essential as programs dedicated to fighting bullying.

Unconscious Learning

The associate professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst named Rebecca Spencer revealed their findings. As published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’, she explains that napping must be included in any preschool curriculum. In the study with her colleagues, they asked 40 pre-schoolers to participate in a type of Memory matching game.

The team placed pairs of concealed photos in a grid formation for kids to find and recall matching identical pictures. After the first time these kids played, the researchers allowed them to take a nap for around 77 minutes before asking them to play again. The week later, they asked those same children to repeat the method, but this time they did not allow them to sleep afterwards.

Beneficial Discovery

The study discovered that skipping daytime napping caused a 10 per cent drop in the kids’ precision at the memory game. Even the team considered that these kids might have felt more distracted and tired without the naps. This is why they had them play the game a day later when they have had a good night’s snooze. They discovered that the connection between better cognitive performance and naps remained strong.

Children who regularly and consistently slept performed better compared to those who did not sleep daily. Spencer says that their findings should be able to provide policy makers, schools and centre directors motivation to encourage naps in schools.