We all love a good night's sleep and of course children benefit from one too.
But apparently the combination of a good night's sleep and a daytime nap can hold the key to a better memory as well as improved emotional welfare in children.
Researchers have found that one without the other are insufficient to boost memory but that the two together are a winning combination!
More about the research
Neuroscientist and Associate Professor, Rebecca Spencer
, has been behind the research and she says:
"Individually, the nap and overnight sleep bouts were not sufficient to induce changes in memory. A significant benefit of napping was observed only when changes across the entire twenty four hour period were considered. This supports an interplay between the nap and subsequent overnight sleep in the consolidation of memories in young children."
With forty nine young children in the study (between the ages of three and five) the team studied children's memories using recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces - paired with emotional "nasty" or "nice" statements. The children were tested at three different points during a twenty four hour period: (a) immediately after learning about the faces; (b) after a delay either with a nap or awake and (c) again the next day.
What were the results?
There was no difference in the accuracy of their memories between those children who had a nap and those who remained awake during the day. BUT when tested again following an overnight sleep, the change in memory accuracy was greater if the child had napped the previous day.
A daily nap should be a protected part of the pre-school child's day
The team came to the conclusion that a daytime nap is necessary to improve memory after an overnight sleep, discovering this was key to helping pre-school children with emotional processing. They also found that their results were consistent with the observations of caregivers.
I am sure anyone who is caring for young children during the day will applaud the suggestion that a daily nap should be a protected part of their day - for many reasons!
The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports
confirming that "Sleep bouts can interact to benefit memory in early childhood...both a nap and subsequent overnight sleep was necessary to observe performance benefits.
We all need a good night's sleep!
And a short power nap during the day can be very beneficial for adults too. For example, it can prevent that slow down tendency during the middle of the working day
and many employers are starting to realize the benefits too.
A power nap is a short nap between ten to twenty minutes in duration. Because the purpose of a power nap is to wake up before the brain enters a deeper sleep, it is crucial not to go over thirty minutes. If this occurs, a power napper will tend to wake up more tired than before.
Midday naps can increase alertness, lower stress and elevate your mood.