Why children need a good sleep-to-learn ratio

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst asked 40 pre-school children to complete a range of memory tasks in the morning. The memory tasks were performed again in the afternoon, during which some of the children were kept awake whilst the others slept for 2 hours.

The findings revealed that the children who had slept recalled 10% more of the memory task than the children who didn’t sleep. The children who did the best in the memory test had slept in the afternoon for five days or more per week on average. This shows that nap time is extremely valuable and can improve children’s learning.

Good sleep doesn’t just help toddlers and young children, it is also very important for adolescents to get a good night sleep.

The authors of the study said “techniques for enhancing pre-school naps should be investigated”, there is a possibility that naps may help children with learning delays. Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith from Birkbeck University of London said “It’s been very clear for several years that sleep plays a critical role in the consolidation of learning in humans.”

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