Preschool naps should be preserved, even in the face of pressures to add more to the curriculum, say researchers who concluded that sleep enhances preschoolers’ memories.
Children who took midday naps of an average of a little longer than an hour performed better on a task that day and the next day than those who didn’t nap, scientists reported last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They also found that the non-nappers couldn’t make up the deficit with nighttime sleep.
That is important, the researchers say, because some preschools seek to replace nap time with instruction in response to growing pressure to boost young children’s academic skills.
The researchers studied 40 children from six western Massachusetts preschools who were tested on visual spatial tasks before and after their naps and again the next day.
A version of this article appeared in the October 02, 2013 edition of Education Week as Early Childhood