Preschoolers and Naps

Do you want your preschooler to learn more?  Make sure he gets a nap!

According to an article in the LA Times, naps are a critical part of a preschooler’s day—even though more and more preschools are adding additional curriculum to their programs.

New research has found that kids who took hour long performed better on memory tests than kids who didn’t take a nap.

In addition, the non-nappers couldn’t make up the deficit simply by getting more sleep at night.

Dr. Rebecca Spencer is a research psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She says, “With increased curriculum demands, classroom nap opportunities are becoming devalued.  These children are in the process of growing from babies who slept off and on all day to children who sleep primarily at night.”

Dr. Spencer says the new study provides evidence that midday naps for preschoolers support learning and improved academic achievement.

The researchers looked at 40 children from six western Massachusetts preschools, ages three to five and a half. They taught the kids a memory test in which they were asked to remember where various pictures were located on a grid.

Each child played the game without a nap, and after a nap. And they played it the following day.

Right after a nap, there wasn’t much difference based on the sleeping. But later in the afternoon, the nappers recalled ten percent more of the picture locations. And the benefit remained the next day.

You know, I’ve been misplacing my car keys lately—maybe I need a nap!

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