Catching some z’s, hitting the hay, getting some shut-eye. However you say it, having a good, long nap can oftentimes be the key to feeling pretty awesome. Turns out it’s also great at helping you learn new things, recent research suggests.
The best time to learn and absorb information is just before you go to sleep, especially in your early years, according to research by a team at the University of Sheffield and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research included trials with over 200 babies aged six to 12 months old who undertook three new tasks involving playing with hand puppets. After completing the tasks, half of the babies slept within four hours of learning and the other half had either no sleep or napped for less than 30 minutes.
On the following day all of the babies were encouraged to repeat what they had been taught before they had gone to sleep. It was also found that on average after a nap around one-and-a-half tasks could be remembered and repeated compared to having little to no sleep which yielded zero tasks being remembered and repeated.
The researchers suggest that overall what you do just before sleep, such as reading a book to your child, could be beneficial to remembering what was learned or read about.
So, the next time your child tries to get you to read ‘just one more’ book before bed, indulge them. They’ll get a lot more out of it than just a few extra minutes to avoid bedtime.