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We tend to think naps are just for the young or the old. Babies and toddlers certainly need them to keep the crankiness and irritability away. Adults need them to just continue to function the rest of the day. But honestly, everyone could use a good nap every once in a while and even the experts agree. In fact, experts say, kids should nap midday even if that means they have to do it while in school!
If you’re a teacher or know someone who is, you may want to think twice about awakening a student that feel asleep during your lecture…
According to a research study published in the journal SLEEP, midday napping in children has a direct affect on their happiness, behavior and even IQ. Yes, even while they’re in school.
The study was conducted with 3819 elementary school children from the China Jintan Cohort Study.
In 2011, weekly nap frequency and average duration were collected once from students at grades 4-6. Prior to their completion of elementary school at grade 6 (in 2011-2013 respective to each grade), the following outcomes were collected once: behavioral and academic achievement evaluated by teachers, and self-reported positive psychology measures including grit, self-control, and happiness. IQ tests were conducted on a subgroup.
Yup. Naps for the kids, nap for the older kids, nap for the adults. SIESTA! https://t.co/Qd9HGxZMqv
— Kate Lareau (@klareau) June 5, 2019
What they found was that napping was significantly associated with higher happiness, grit, and self-control, reduced internalizing behavior problem, higher verbal IQs, and better academic achievement.
In another press release regarding the study, it was said:
“Children who napped three or more times per week benefit from a 7.6% increase in academic performance in Grade 6. How many kids at school would not want their scores to go up by 7.6 points out of 100?” Penn neurocriminologist Adrian Raine, a co-author on the paper
The press release goes on to saying…
Sleep deficiency and daytime drowsiness are surprisingly widespread, with drowsiness affecting up to 20% of all children, says lead author on the study Jianghong Liu, a Penn associate professor of nursing and public health. What’s more, the negative cognitive, emotional, and physical effects of poor sleep habits are well-established, and yet most previous research has focused on preschool age and younger.
That’s partially because in places like the United States, napping stops altogether as children get older. In China, however, the practice is embedded into daily life, continuing through elementary and middle school, even into adulthood. So, Liu and Raine, with Penn biostatistician Rui Feng, UC Irvine sleep researcher Sara Mednick and others, turned to the China Jintan Cohort Study, established in 2004 to follow participants from toddlerhood through adolescence. (Source)
And they are not wrong. Naps in the US are often frowned upon especially while in school. It seems disrespectful or like the child is bored and uninterested. In reality, the child NEEDS the sleep and it will benefit them far more than forcing themselves to stay awake during a lecture they may not have the brain power to comprehend.
So, when you think your older kids don’t need to nap, they do. Let them nap away this summer and it should surely help their happiness and life overall!