Naps should never be abandoned. As parents, we know that our kids need them. We’ve seen the brain function dwindle, the emotions become erratic, the stress levels raise until finally our child lays down and takes a nap. Readily, we should be able to admit the same behavior. Especially as parents, our brains get tired. We get emotional, over reactive, hypersensitive, and a little out of sorts when we run on too little sleep- which for parents, is often. Our naptime is a blessed time for us as well as our kids. Naptime can be a family affair. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society published a study from the University of Pennsylvania on napping. Three thousand adults participated in the study in order for researchers to better understand how napping and mental capacity correlate. Participants would nap for varying lengths of time, then engage in tests for their mental ability. The Ladders explains that about 60 percent of the participants were tested after taking a post-lunch nap, for a little over an hour. Participants who napped had better memory ability and mental performance than their peers who did not nap. For the participants who napped at least an hour, their performance was better than any of their peers who took naps for different periods of time. Outrageously, the researchers found that participants who did not nap at all, as well as those who took naps longer or shorter than an hour, had decreased mental performance four-to-six times more than the peers who took hour long naps. Additionally, the decline in their mental performance was similar to people five years older than them.
How to make napping a family affair
A family schedule is rarely consistent, particularly when there are multiple children involved. Choosing one time of day for everyone to nap may be impossible. Picking a range of hours for everyone to get a nap in might be a better idea. Napping too late in the afternoon is problematic, because you won’t recover as well and you will inhibit the ability to go to sleep- which many children already struggle with. Naptime should ideally take place between the hours of 1-4pm. Ideally, kids should come home from school and get a good nap in before starting homework or other activities. Use a timer to make sure everyone hits that optimal one hour mark for a nap. If you are able to have everyone home and napping at the same time, collect any phones, tablets, TV remotes, or other distracting, stimulating technological devices. Draw the curtains closed and create a calm, dark, peaceful environment for napping. You and the whole family will benefit from a nap, refreshing and rejuvenating your minds to continue taking recovery head on.
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