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If you want your children to learn and grasp things in a better way then you should allow them to take afternoon nap.
An hour-long power pact nap during the day-time after the lunch helps in boosting learning and grasping ability in children by improving their memory, a new first-of-its-kind study has found.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found that a nap helped children better remember new things such as their lessons.
Research psychologist Rebecca Spencer, with students Kasey Duclos and Laura Kurdziel, said their results suggest naps are critical for memory consolidation and early learning.
“Essentially we are the first to report evidence that naps are important for preschool children. Our study shows that naps help the kids better remember what they are learning in preschool,” Spencer said.
Spencer and colleagues carried study on 40 children from six preschools across western Massachusetts.
The researchers taught children a visual-spatial task similar to the game ‘Memory’ in the mornings.
In this game, children see a grid of pictures and have to remember where different pictures are located.
Each child participated in two conditions. In the first condition, the children were allowed to take nap during their regular classroom. In the second condition, children were kept awake for the same amount of time. Naps lasted an average of 77 minutes as recorded by observers in the classroom.
Children’s recalling power for the game was tested after the nap and wake conditions and again the following day to see whether nighttime sleep affected performance.
Children forgot significantly more item locations on the memory test when they had not taken a nap compared to when they did nap. The researchers found that following a nap, children recalled 10 percent more of the test locations than when they had been kept awake.
Concluding the study, the researchers said, “While the children performed about the same immediately after learning in both the nap and wake conditions, the children performed significantly better when they napped both in the afternoon and the next day. That means that when they miss a nap, the child cannot recover this benefit of sleep with their overnight sleep. It seems that there is an additional benefit of having the sleep occur in close proximity to the learning.”
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.