The scientists from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have found that a one-hour noon nap boosts mental potential of the children of preschool age and facilitates learning. According to BBC, the conclusion of the scientists was based on the observations of 40 children.
A good afternoon rest gives a long time benefit. According to the experts, daily sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation. In the experiment, the children were offered to relax after lunch, and then asked to perform a test for visual-spatial abilities. Thus, the results were significantly better after having a rest (the children remembered 10% more information than the usual amount), in contrast to the next day, when they missed the nap.
Careful monitoring of the 14 children, who were sleeping in the laboratory, showed the processes that occurred in the brain during sleep. At this moment, the scientists saw a marked activity in the areas of the brain, associated with learning and integration of information. For the first time, they found evidence that daytime sleep was important for the children of preschool age as they remembered information better. The author of the study, Rebecca Spencer, says that parents should teach their children to sleep after dinner.
It has long been known that a short nap during the day increases the mental capacity of adults. However, the influence of an afternoon nap on children has not been evaluated so far, and this is very important because not all children have a noon nap in kindergartens. Pre-school children absorb a lot of information every day; they are marked by curiosity and strive for independence. As a rule, they require 11-13 hours of sleep per day. This will keep the brain activity during the day. Daytime sleep is as important as the night sleep. Without it, the children will feel tired, demonstrate anger, and become forgetful. These recommendations are given by Robert Scott-Jupp from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.