Putting your kids down for a nap in the afternoon may give you a bit of well-deserved rest after running around with them all morning, but researchers are warning that it could prove harmful for them.
A study of 27 kids by researchers at the University of Florida [Images], led by Dr Joe McNamara, concluded that kids would be better off without that afternoon nap. They found that snoozing at this time may prevent kids from getting a good night's sleep, and thus impair mental performance.
As a part of their study, the researchers measured how well the group of kids could solve puzzles requiring planning and organisational skills. According to the New Scientist, the researchers found that children who took longer naps tended to complete fewer puzzles successfully. Sleeping in the afternoon also meant that these kids were going to be up later in the night. Such kids performed worse on the puzzles.
In another study, Dr John Harsh and colleagues from the University of Southern Mississippi found that kids who took long daytime naps fell asleep at night an average of 39 minutes later, and slept later at the weekend.
These kids, reports the Telegraph, found it more difficult to go to bed at night, slept badly and struggled to get up in the morning.
The researchers asked the parents of 738 children aged two to 12 about their children's sleeping habits in this study.
"It could be that children are getting less sleep at night because they are napping, or they could be napping because they're getting less sleep at night," he said.