Sleep on This: Smarter Babies Take Naps, Study Shows

Filed under: In The News, Research Reveals: Babies

egg face

Want your baby to be an egghead? Make sure the kid gets a nap. Credit: 1happysnapper, Flickr


Parents around the world rejoice -- you have yet another reason to love nap time. A new study shows that kids who sleep during the day develop advanced learning skills faster than their non-napping peers.

According to BusinessWeek, a study out of the University of Arizona reveals that babies who nap tend to exhibit an advanced learning skill called "abstraction" -- or the ability to detect general patterns contained in new information.

Researchers played the same phrase from a made-up language to 48 15-month-olds until the kids were familiar with it. Follow-up testing showed that toddlers who slept within four to eight hours of hearing the phrases displayed evidence of abstract learning. The same did not hold true for babies who didn't take a nap within the same time frame."What we know is that infants have mostly REM sleep, given the type of sleep they have, given how their brains are developed at that point. And they have to get some of that sleep within a reasonable amount of time after inputting information in order to be able to do abstracting work on it. If they don't sleep within four to eight hours, they probably just lose the entire thing," lead researcher Lynn Nadel, a professor in the psychology department, says in a university news release.

What does this mean for parents, besides the fact that they can stop feeling guilty over their affection for nap time? Stimulation in the form of talking and reading to their children is, of course, important, but all of that activity must be reinforced by a routine that includes an adequate supply of daytime sleep.

Now if only we could get researchers to agree that moms and dads need naps, too.

Related: Naps Have Gotten a Bum Rap

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.