Naps helps preschoolers learn
Preschoolers who nap do much better on memory tests than those kids who did not nap, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The napping benefit also extended to the following day, and seems to be important for memory consolidation.
For the study, 40 preschoolers from six different schools were taught a visual-spatial task similar to the game Memory. They were shown pictures and asked to remember where they were located. In one instance, the children napped during the school day for an average of 77 minutes. Another time they were kept awake during that time. The kids did the memory task after either taking a nap or not, and then again the next day.
Results showed that the kids had better recall after they had napped, compared to when they didn’t. They remembered the picture location with an accuracy of 75 percent when they napped, compared to 65 percent when they stayed awake. When they napped, they even performed better the next day.
Researchers say that preschools should develop napping guidelines to encourage napping and provide kids a good environment in which to sleep.