UMass Psychology Study: Naps Enhance Preschool Learning

A new Umass-Amherst  study suggests that naps during preschool can enhance learning and memory.

Psychologists recruited 40 Western Massachusetts preschoolers and played a memory game with them under different napping conditions. They found that children who napped during the day had better recall than those who didn’t — even after factoring in night-time sleep. Researcher Rebecca Spencer says she hopes the study will encourage policy makers to include naps as part of the ever-expanding preschool curriculum.

“So for instance, in the state of Massachusetts, we now have teeth brushing as part of the curriculum. You also see most of the preschools are including some sort of emotional regulation curriculum,” Spencer says. “All of these things are putting  pressure on how they spend their day and leaves less and less time for kids to take a nap.

Spencer says her research has also shown napping benefits for adults — but only if napping doesn’t get in the way of a good night’s sleep. 

Listen to audio for a conversation between Rebecca Spencer and NEPR’s Karen Brown.