Nap mats aren't just for preschoolers and Kindergartners. 

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
June 11, 2019
Girl Sleeping
Credit: Yasser Chalid/Getty Images

By the time you get to middle school in most schools in America, napping during the day is a thing of the past. But should it be?

One convincing new study seems to indicate otherwise. Researchers at University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine analyzed data from nearly 3,000 students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade in China, where napping in middle school and beyond is normal.

"Children who napped three or more times per week benefit from a 7.6% increase in academic performance in Grade 6," said Adrian Raine, a co-author on the research paper in a statement. "How many kids at school would not want their scores to go up by 7.6 points out of 100?"

In addition to academic achievement, researchers found that children who took a mid-day nap also tended to be happier and suffer from less behavioral problems. It's important to note that all of these findings are correlational, and not causational, meaning napping isn't necessarily the reason for the improved performance and psychological outcomes.

"The midday nap is easily implemented, and it costs nothing," noted lead study author Jianghong Liu in the same news release, especially if naps are coupled with a later dismissal, so as not to dip into classroom teaching time. "Not only will this help the kids, but it also takes away time for screen use, which is related to a lot of mixed outcomes."

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Of course, a savvy babysitter could have told you that naps can make a world of a difference for a youngster, but we're glad science is building a strong case, too.