Taking naps is very important for children as this can help them preserve their memory and learn better.
Have you ever taken a nap in the middle of the day and felt amazingly refreshed after it? I know that every time I take a “power nap”, I wake up being able to accomplish things more efficiently than I would have if I continued to go about my day feeling tired.
Many adults take naps for one reason or another – lack of sleep the night before, having to wake up very early, headaches, the list goes on – but naps are more commonly associated with young children.
On average, infants aged 3 to 11 months take around one to four naps per day, each lasting 30 minutes to two hours.
Recently we shared with you the importance of naps for children. One of the reasons why naps are so beneficial is that they can help children preserve their memory and learn better.
The following study that has recently been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences supports this statement:
Researchers tested 40 babies, ages 6 and 12 months, using a puppet with a removable mitten containing a bell. They engaged the child, then removed the mitten and shook it three times to demonstrate its sound and movement, and replaced the mitten on the puppet’s hand. The procedure was repeated several times. The infants then napped for an average of 106 minutes during the next four hours, but 21 of the babies slept 30 minutes or less.
The next day, after all the infants had slept soundly for the night, researchers presented the materials again to see if the infant would remember and try to reproduce the mitten procedure. The babies who had taken long naps after the teaching session were significantly better at reproducing the procedure than those who napped less than 30 minutes.
The study concluded that timely sleep (meaning after the activity or learning session) facilitates declarative memory consolidation in infants.
University of Sheffield’s Dr. Jane Herbert agrees with this statement, and has told BBC News:
Those who sleep after learning – learn well, those not sleeping – don’t learn at all.
Perhaps you will take this knowledge into your home and do a test on your own with your infant, prior to their naptime.