A new study is recommending daytime naps for little children. According to them, kids who do not take these naps are more likely to experience hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.
The study results revealed that parents of children-between the ages of 4 and 5 who did not take daytime naps-said that they exhibited higher levels of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression than those who continued to nap at this age.
Lead author Dr. Brian Crosby, postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, said that previous studies had shown that poor or inadequate sleep is linked with symptoms of hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.
He claimed that researchers in the current study were happy to show the potential importance of napping for optimal daytime functioning in young children, as napping is often overlooked in favour 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," said Crosby.
In the study, the researchers collected 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 behavioural assessment of the child.
Actigraphy data for each child was collected continuously for seven to 14 days.
Crosby is hopeful that that the findings 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.
The study was presented on Monday at SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.