There is growing evidence that adolescents should be encouraged to take naps during the daytime at school. A large study of almost 3,000 Chinese children showed that the ones who took a nap of between 30 and 60 minutes at least three times a week, were not only found to be cleverer, but were also happier. They also had greater self-control, higher IQ’s and more of that hard to find yet precious thing called ‘grit’.
Napping in the daytime increases children’s academic performance by 7.6% on average. And unlike in China, where Chinese children regularly are encouraged to take mid-day naps, western thinking: including the United States and Europe are only just beginning to wake up to the fact that children not only need more sleep than they are currently getting on average, but that they also need to start later in the morning. The ideal time is 10 AM, with a longer day until about 6 o’clock in order not to be sleep deprived, because they always go to bed later than adults, as their body time clock’s become delayed in teenage years.
The scientists collected the data from the Chinese research, on both napping frequency, and psychological measures, including happiness. They also asked teachers to give them behavioural and academic information about each student. Then, they analysed the associations, adjusting for sex, age, school location, parental education, and bedtimes. These findings have since been published in the Journal of Sleep.
“We had the chance to ask real-world, adolescents school children questions across a wide range of behavioural, academic, social, and psychological measures. The more students sleep during the day, the greater the benefit of naps on many of these measures,” said Sara Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, US.
There are growing concerns that British children are becoming chronically under-rested and sleep deprived. Very little research has been done on napping for children, with the exception for toddlers. This new Chinese research study, sheds a light that if we are to be competitive in future with the rest of the world, our UK children need to sleep for England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Poor sleep causes low cognitive skills, also poor memory, and exam results. It’s time to value our sleep, and to brush up on our nightly sleep quotas. Never before has napping with children been shown to perhaps be the difference that makes the difference. Sleep is the secret weapon for higher academic performance with children and teenagers.
As always I wish you a great night’s sleep.
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