Napping may have a significant influence on young children's daytime functioning, according to a research abstract that will be presented on June 8 at Sleep 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Results indicate that children between the ages of 4 and 5 who did not take daytime naps were reported by their parents to exhibit higher levels of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression than children who continued to nap at this age.
According to lead author Brian Crosby, PhD, postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, previous studies have shown that poor or inadequate sleep is linked with symptoms of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression; researchers involved in this study were happy to demonstrate the potential importance of napping for optimal daytime functioning in young children, as napping is often overlooked in favor of nighttime or total sleep.
"There is a lot of individual variability in when children are ready to give up naps. I would encourage parents to include a quiet 'rest' time in their daily schedule that would allow children to nap if necessary."
The study included data from 62 children between the ages of 4 and 5 who were classified as either napping (77 percent) or non-napping (23 percent) based on actigraphy data. Napping children napped an average of 3.4 days per week. Of the sample, 55 percent were white-non Hispanic and 53 percent were male. Caretakers reported their child's typical weekday and weekend bedtime/rise time, napping patterns, family demographics, and completed a behavioral assessment of the child. Actigraphy data for each child was collected continuously for seven to 14 days.
Crosby hopes that findings of this study will encourage caregivers and other researchers to look at the ways napping impacts daytime functioning in children, as an optimal age to stop napping has not yet been determined.
Abstract Title: Napping and Psychosocial Functioning in Preschool Children
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