That kid dozing in the back of class may be smarter than you think.
Researchers at the University of Delaware and University of Pennsylvania found that teens who napped routinely had better sustained attention, nonverbal reasoning ability and spatial memory. They also tended to get a better night’s sleep.
The scientists examined the sleep patterns of adolescents in China, where napping is considered part of a healthy lifestyle and built into some school schedules.
“Daytime napping is quite controversial in the United States,” study co-author Xiaopeng Ji says. “In China, time for napping is built into the post-lunch schedule for many adults in work settings and students at schools.”
These findings suggest US schools might want to consider implementing naptime for teens. Ji notes that during adolescence there is a biological shift in circadian rhythm of one to two hours later than preadolescent years. Getting up early for school and staying late for extracurriculars could lead to chronic sleep deprivation in American teens.
“[Some] American high schools are taking efforts to address chronic sleep deprivation… by delaying the school start time,” Ji tells The Post. “A long lunch break, which permits routine midday naps, may produce additional benefits for heightened cognitive performance among adolescents.”
According to Ji, the ideal nap should last from 30 to 60 minutes, and would take place between noon and 2 p.m., as many teens experience a dip in their circadian rhythms then.
Sleepy teens across the country, take note.
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