Taking a midday nap is linked to higher IQ scores, new research finds.
Naps have even been linked to similar cognitive boosts as those provided by a full night’s sleep.
Children in the study who took a nap were happier and scored higher on measures of verbal IQ, self-control and grit.
Around 20 percent of children are drowsy during the school day, which a nap helps alleviate.
Poor sleep has negative effects on the cognitions, emotions and physiology.
Professor Adrian Raine, study co-author, said:
“Children who napped three or more times per week benefit from a 7.6% increase in academic performance in Grade 6.
How many kids at school would not want their scores to go up by 7.6 points out of 100?”
The conclusions come from a study of 2,928 children in China, where napping is more commonplace — even in adulthood.
The children were followed from when they were toddlers through to adolescence, with various tests given periodically.
The results showed that longer naps were linked to better performance in tests of verbal IQ.
Dr Sara Mednick, study co-author, said:
“Many lab studies across all ages have demonstrated that naps can show the same magnitude of improvement as a full night of sleep on discrete cognitive tasks.
Here, we had the chance to ask real-world, adolescent schoolchildren questions across a wide range of behavioral, academic, social, and physiological measures.
The more students sleep during the day, the greater the benefit of naps on many of these measures.”
Students who napped were also more likely to be better behaved.
Dr Jianghong Liu, the study’s first author, said:
“The midday nap is easily implemented, and it costs nothing.
Not only will this help the kids, but it also takes away time for screen use, which is related to a lot of mixed outcomes.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Sleep (Liu et al., 2019).