- August 24, 2014
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I don’t know if the birds or bees do it. But cats definitely do it. So do many Europeans, as well as the Spaniards – who call it a siesta. I do it. My kids do it. It’s the ultimate daytime recharge. But besides energizing us, does daytime napping provide any other benefits?
The answer is yes! A new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst showed that classroom naps can enhance memory and assist learning in preschool-aged children. In the latest study, supported in part by NIH, the children were taught a game called Memory Learning, where cartoon images were displayed on a grid. The children who napped did 10% better at recalling the locations of images than the children who were kept awake.
I’ve heard from older generations that they used to nap at school in kindergarten. Perhaps the results of this study could encourage educators to bring back naps in preschool and kindergarten. Or perhaps parents can find time in their kids’ busy schedules to nap/rest for a half an hour each day.
But napping is not just helpful for kids. Recent research was published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience regarding napping and memory improvement. The studies were conducted at the University of Haifa in Israelm and demonstrated that a ninety-minute daytime nap helps speed up the process of long-term memory consolidation. One group that slept in the afternoon showed improvement in their task performance by that evening. The group that didn’t nap did not exhibit any improvement. After an entire night’s sleep, both groups exhibited the same skill level. The group that slept in the afternoon improved much faster than the group that stayed awake during the daytime.
Need anymore proof? Don’t just take it from me. Your body will tell you. Unfortunately, we are often too busy or too stubborn to listen. Yawn. I think I will go nap now myself.