New study suggests sleep can help a child’s literacy skills
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Researchers in Australia have found that daytime naps can help improve reading skills in preschoolers.
The recent study claims to prove how sleep affects children’s memory and reading skills was unclear until now.
About 32 children aged 2 to 5 years in Sydney, Australia, were examined at two separate daycares. They participated in test sessions to learn to associate letters and sounds for two to four weeks. The kids did it without taking a nap. A week later, they repeated the tests. Only this time the children rested after learning. According to the results, the children performed better after the day’s nap and their ability to match sounds and letters remained the same the next day.
“When you learn something, it can be confusing at first. But then when you sleep, your brain continues to work to process that and consolidate it,” explained local clinical psychologist Dr Carollyn Ievers-Landis.
Ievers-Landis says that while the study is interesting, every child is different, and so are their sleep needs.
“I really encourage parents to be mindful of this and not try to get their child to sleep too long or too soon,” she said. “A lot of kids give up napping even at the age of two. So I don’t want mom or dad to feel too bad about it. It’s normal for a lot of kids to give up naps around this time. , but it’s fun to think about how learning happens or learning to read could be made easier for kids who are already napping by learning it right before naptime.
The researchers noted that because the tests weren’t done in the lab, they weren’t able to confirm whether certain sleep characteristics like rapid eye movement (REM) were responsible for the positive results.