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Get Caught Napping: Why Kids Need More Sleep

Get Caught Napping: Why Kids Need More Sleep

Learn why nearly 20 percent of kids in the U.S. are sleep-deprived.

In 2016, when Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Homer Bailey turned his back on home plate while the San Diego Padres’ Wil Myers lit off third based and stole home, Bailey was, as they say in baseball, “caught napping!”

Napping off the field, however, is usually not a bad thing. In fact, a study published in the journal Sleep looked at nearly 3,000 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders and found kids who napped for 30-60 minutes at least three days a week are happier, fare better academically (sixth graders who napped tested as if they had higher IQs), and have fewer behavioral problems than their nap-deprived counterparts.

In order to find a group of 3,000 children who regularly napped, the researchers went to China, where napping is socially acceptable. In the U.S. and many other western countries, children stop napping when they get older but, in China, the practice is alive and well in elementary school, middle school, and even adulthood.

It’s estimated that up to 20 percent of children in the U.S. are sleep deprived—in part because of too-early school starting times. If you can’t get your kids’ school to adopt   later start times, maybe you can get them to institute a little classroom quiet time after lunch—call it a catnap, a power nap, or a micro nap—so kids can recharge for their afternoon lessons.

Heck, you might even ask your boss if you can grab a nap. Some companies like Google, Zappos, Capitol One Labs, and Ben & Jerry’s allow it.

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