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Naps Nurture Growing Brains

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the reasons-to-keep-horse-tranquilizer-around-the-house dept.

Science 39

sciencehabit writes "Few features of child-rearing occupy as much parental brain space as sleep, and with it the timeless question: Is my child getting enough? Despite the craving among many parents for more sleep in their offspring (and, by extension, themselves), the purpose that sleep serves in young kids remains something of a mystery—especially when it comes to daytime naps. Do they help children retain information, as overnight sleep has been found to do in adults? A new study provides the first evidence that daytime sleep is in fact critical for effective learning in young children."

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Good luck with that (3, Informative)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44942863)

modern schools are designed to condition kids to work hard on less sleep. Heck, public schools in America were original developed to get farm kids used to the kind of regimented life factory work requires (read "A people's history of the United States" for citation). America is all about working harder for less. I suppose it might be different in the rest of the world though.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44943095)

modern schools are designed to condition kids to work hard on less sleep. Heck, public schools in America were original developed to get farm kids used to the kind of regimented life factory work

Note that this attitude now permeates American schooling all the way through medical training.

captcha:wretches

Re:Good luck with that (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44943335)

modern schools are designed to condition kids to work hard on less sleep. Heck, public schools in America were original developed to get farm kids used to the kind of regimented life factory work

Note that this attitude now permeates American schooling all the way through medical training.

captcha:wretches

It's getting a little better. As proof, I submit the fact that physicians who finished residency 10 years ago are now saying "back in my day, we had to . . ."

Re:Good luck with that (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44943405)

Huh? Sorry I just nodded off then.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44943171)

modern schools are designed to condition kids to work hard on less sleep.

Work, not think. Naps are good for your brains.

get farm kids used to the kind of regimented life factory work requires

No thinking required. In fact, its discouraged.

I'll add one more thought to this thread: Its not the schools that condition kids to sleep less. Its their peer group. Stay up late, hanging around on the corner, smoking or whatever. I don't recall that being a homework assignment at any school I ever attended.

Re:Good luck with that (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#44943367)

Nope, they're happy to do both. The ones that can't do it fail and fall by the wayside. But who cares. There's just 'precious little snowflakes' that were coddled too much as kids. It's a big, bad world out there. Why waste effort making it better?

Re:Good luck with that (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44953131)

The schools do play a part in that. They insist on starting early in the morning to suit later work schedules even though the natural rhythm would start the day later. A few high schools experimented with having a lter day and student performance improved, so naturally that idea is off the table.

Re:Good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44945055)

Idk about schools being developed to condition kids for factory work, but schools act as diploma factories, so it's no surprise that it makes kids that mirror the very thing that produced them. I'd call them Governmental Indoctrination Centers, accepting that the most indoctrination kids get is in uniform mediocrity.

A slow news day! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44942889)

Research has proven sleep is good for you!

News at 11 *yawn*

Yeh good luck with that (3, Funny)

swamp_ig (466489) | about a year ago | (#44942929)

That's interesting.

Now how about some research on actually persuading your child to have a nap, rather than a protracted battle of wills that gets everyone on edge.

Naps are great when they happen, but all parties must be willing

Re:Yeh good luck with that (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44943109)

I was the only person in my kindergarten class who couldn't sleep during the day. (I still can't sleep during the day unless I'm severely jet lagged.) I just sort of sat there and thought about stuff for that half hour or however long it was. I'm pretty sure my learning was not in any way compromised by this.

That conclusion is actually supported by the article, which says that kids who are used to taking naps don't learn as well if they don't take naps, but that kids who never take naps don't improve after taking one. So if all parties aren't willing, chances are, your kid is beyond the age where a nap is useful, pedagogically speaking.

In other words, it is important to make naps available to kids who need them, but it is not useful to force naps on kids whose brains matured earlier. In an ideal world, there should be something for those kids to do other than lying there and feeling bored—perhaps a trip to the school library to read something, at least for those kids whose reading skills are far enough along to do so. My guess is that there's probably a roughly 1:1 correlation between those two groups.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44945641)

Interesting self-diagnosis. Possibly your inability to take advantage of brief a 'down-time' is a disadvantage. You might be smarter and more productive if not for your predisposition. Then again, I suspect you probably (favourably) self-diagnose in other areas.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | about a year ago | (#44951017)

Kintergarteners are a bit old for naps (5/6 year-olds). This article is talking about preschoolers, ages 3/4.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a year ago | (#44954861)

IIRC, in preschool, nap time was the part of the day when I used to dismantle and reassemble old, broken rotary dial phones, occasionally fixing them in the process. :-)

Re:Yeh good luck with that (1)

azcoyote (1101073) | about a year ago | (#44943119)

Very true.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44945113)

Now how about some research on actually persuading your child to have a nap, rather than a protracted battle of wills that gets everyone on edge.

The article actually covers that. It may even be the most practical information in the entire thing - rub their feet. They report that it was surprising how well it worked. Sounds like it is the next best thing to an "off" switch.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44947941)

> forcing naps

The brain knows when it's ready to sleep. Perhaps turn off the TV and have some quiet time with a book.

I can't count the times at work I needed a nap.

Re:Yeh good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44969131)

I used to put my daughter in front of the TV to get her to have a nap, so turning on the TV can work for some, although my daughter perhaps was unusual in that regard.

The title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44942935)

The title "Naps Nurture Growing Brains" is such ironic ...karma.

The reason I say that is because, sleep - even after all this research stating the contrary - is considered the pastime of the lazy; when in fact it's for the gifted.

I love the payback.

Sure it's easy to point to Edison and other folks who owned their own empires and say, "There you go! They napped!"

Try that in your dipshit cube job. Er, my bad , we're talking about kids here ...

How many parents do you see have their kids not only do their time in public school, but also do Tai Kwando (don't care about the spelling), dance, musical instrument, etc ...

WTF?

Whatever.

All I'll say is that the greatest people on this Earth weren't well rounded.

None.

They were concentrated on ONE thing and did it.

Finding that ONE thing for the kid to excel is the trick.

Re:The title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44951525)

All I'll say is that the greatest people on this Earth weren't well rounded.

None.

They were concentrated on ONE thing and did it.

Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo Galilei, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Bacon and Michael Servetus and Leon Battista Alberti, among others. [wikipedia.org]

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

-- Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love (1973)

They're good for all (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44942963)

Among the many things I learned from the locals while working in Japan was the ability to power nap. Benefits are both physical and mental, but the underlying brain 'tech' is how short term memory is allowed to percolate over to long term. Anyone at any age can apply such a technique.

Naps (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about a year ago | (#44943007)

It's pretty good for us geezers, too.

The Best Nap (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#44943045)

The best nap is the one where you wake up to an eager mouth on your genitals, just as you orgasm.

Re:The Best Nap (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44943187)

That's why they are called "Staff meetings".

Re:The Best Nap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44966015)

As long as it isn't your dogs's.

Napping Will Rot Your Brain (3, Interesting)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year ago | (#44943059)

While naps may help mental development in children, taking those afternoon naps in your cubicle will cause Dementia
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9403227/Daytime-naps-linked-to-dementia-warn-neurologists.html

Wooooooaaaahhh! Spine-tingling and Spooky Clinical Studies for Halloween!

Re:Napping Will Rot Your Brain (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about a year ago | (#44943161)

The article you link reverses the cause and effect you claim; the assumption is that excessive napping is an early indicator of dementia, not the cause of it. And the research itself appears to take no stand on the matter; it established a correlation with no actual evidence for which way (if any) the causation arrow goes.

It's an evolutionary adaptation (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44943255)

Children getting a lot of sleep is an evolutionary adaptation, since parents driven beyond the brink make poor caregivers.

Re:It's an evolutionary adaptation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44943595)

Yeah, daytime napping especially on Sundays is a natural defense against being mind-raped by the celebration of ignorance that is religion, thus avoiding the dulling of reasoning skills by blind faith...

Growing? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44943277)

Isn't every brain growing?

Re:Growing? (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about a year ago | (#44943349)

(I've only read the summary, so...)

If there is a real relationship and effect, I expect it is related to the proportion of new information that a baby/toddler/young child needs to process.

Re:Growing? (2)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44943669)

(I've only read the summary, so...)

I'm waiting for the movie.

Re:Growing? (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about a year ago | (#44950915)

No.
If this were true the guy in the cubicle next to me would have a massive brain.

It's true for me, too (3, Funny)

pax humana (1724972) | about a year ago | (#44944083)

In an effort to be of most intellectual value to my employer, I start the day with an Ambien. Then I'm really productive the last two hours of the day.

My brothers used to drug me... (2)

Macchendra (2919537) | about a year ago | (#44944363)

My brothers (aged 6 and 8 while I was 3) used to drug me with a NyQuil laced ice cream shake they'd call a "Shamrock Shake" so they could go out to play. Worked wonders, but I won't leave a drink unattended til this day.

Re:My brothers used to drug me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44947567)

My brothers (aged 6 and 8 while I was 3) used to drug me with a NyQuil laced ice cream shake they'd call a "Shamrock Shake" so they could go out to play. Worked wonders, but I won't leave a drink unattended til this day.

Holy shit. As the parent of young boys, I now have one more thing to watch out for...

Re:My brothers used to drug me... (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year ago | (#44949487)

To which I can only wonder:

A) Did you never catch on, or did you just figure that a tasty ice cream treat was worth a nap?

B) Nobody should leave a drink unattended in any sort of public place, so good thing you learned that lesson the "easy" way.

One Size Fits All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44947561)

Yeah, keep trying to shoehorn the whole fucking race into a nice little category for everything. That's not a waste of time or money at all....nope.

Science!

Um (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44949893)

Not sure what mystery there is. But a long standing theory, as stated, about sleep and dreams is that it's when the brain organizes the information you gained during the waking hours, throws away the stuff that is meaningless or already gained knowledge from past experiences, and then figures out what new experiences are needed to store for short and long term recall.

Considering that for children EVERYTHING is new to them, taking naps during the day most likely is better so they can tuck away all that new information they are flooded with at shorter intervals which probably lets the infant brain process it more efficiently, rather than just at night. Not sure why the process is only understood to occur in adult brains and considered a mystery for children.

I think often scientists dismiss the obvious to ensure they continue to get funding for a project where they already know the answer to.

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