The benefits of daytime sleep for students
Ask any parents if daytime sleep is good for your child. The answer will be unequivocal – yes. Daytime sleep improves mood, restores the child’s energy, improves his academic performance. Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California (USA) conducted a study that fully confirmed such allegations of parents.
It showed that school-age children who sleep 30-60 minutes in the afternoon are happier, better able to control themselves and have fewer problems with behavior. These children also have a higher level of IQ and higher school performance.
The study involved more than 3,000 children aged 10-12 years – students in grades 4-6. As a result, the relationship between daytime sleep and a sense of happiness, self-control and perseverance was revealed. One of the initiators of the study, neuroscientist Adrian Rein, said: “It has been found that children who sleep during the day experience fewer problems with behavior and have a higher level of IQ. The latter was especially evident in sixth graders. Particularly strong is the effect of daytime sleep on the school performance of children. ”
Another study leader, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Janhong Liu, said: “Surprisingly, lack of sleep and daytime sleepiness are very common among children. About 20% of all children suffer from them. Psychologists and doctors are well aware of how the lack of sleep affects the emotional, cognitive spheres of the child and its physiology. However, in most previous studies only preschoolers took part. Such studies were practically not conducted with schoolchildren. ”
This is partly due to the fact that in the USA, children from a certain age do not have the opportunity to sleep during the day. However, for example, in China, this is everyday practice – both younger and older students have the opportunity to sleep during the day. Often this habit remains in adulthood.
Therefore, the study organizers used the results of a similar study conducted in China to track the effects of daytime sleep for children from preschool to adolescent.
Scientists have collected data on how much time each of the studied children slept during the day. The first time such data were collected when the children were in 4th grade, the second time in 6th grade. At the same time, psychological (purposefulness, level of happiness) and physical (body mass index, blood glucose) parameters of children were measured. Researchers also asked teachers to characterize the behavior and performance of each child studied.
Scientists argue that such a comprehensive long-term study was conducted for the first time. Among other things, they had the opportunity to interact directly with the children, ask them questions about school performance and behavior problems.
As expected, scientists came to the conclusion that daytime sleep improves the physical and mental performance of children. The more the baby sleeps during the day, the stronger the positive effect.
The study organizers argue that the results can be used in the practice of schooling. Today, many pediatricians and experts on child development talk about the need to postpone the start of the school day to a later time. However, according to scientists, the early start of lessons can be offset by daytime sleep. The fact that lessons will end later will also have its advantages: children will spend less time on screens of computers and TVs at home. This is a very common occurrence these days, and it has many negative consequences for children.
Scientists say that research on this topic has great prospects. For example, in the future you can find out why children in more educated families devote more time to daytime sleep than in less educated families. Given the cultural traditions and individual characteristics of each person, it would be possible to propagate daytime sleep on a global scale. As a result, people may think about whether daytime sleep directly affects academic performance or whether it is part of some more complex mechanism.
However, to answer these questions, scientists still have a lot of work to do. Today, they hope that the results of the study will help develop a daytime sleep habit in children.