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Daytime Nap Has Benefits Beyond Rest for Kids

Nappers have less hyperactivity, depression and anxiety, research suggests

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Children's nap time is not only beneficial to caregivers who may need a break. For children aged 4 to 5 years, taking a nap during the day may help reduce hyperactivity, anxiety and depression, new study findings show.

In the study of 62 children categorized as either napping (77 percent) or non-napping (23 percent), researchers found that those who didn't take daytime naps had higher levels of anxiety, hyperactivity and depression.

The study findings were presented June 8 at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, in Seattle.

Children who took naps did so an average of 3.4 days a week, the researchers found. The study data was based on the parents' or caregivers' reporting of the children's typical weekday and weekend bedtime/wake time and napping patterns. Family demographics and behavioral assessments of the children were also included in the analysis.

"There is a lot of individual variability in [the age] 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," lead author Brian Crosby, a postdoctoral fellow of psychology at Pennsylvania State University, said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

An optimal age for children to stop napping hasn't yet been determined, Crosby noted.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and naps.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, news release, June 8, 2009

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