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Preschoolers Who Nap Have Better Recall, Study States

An afternoon nap helps preschoolers retain what they've learned—even though such opportunities are being cut in preschools and day cares to provide more time for instruction, a new scientific study says.An hour or so spent sleeping improves memory not only on the day the nap is taken, but also on the following day, an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states.

Moreover, children who did not nap could not make up the deficit at night.

"Until now, there was nothing to support teachers who feel that naps can really help young children," said Rebecca Spencer, a research psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in a statement. "There had been no concrete science behind that."

"We hope these results will be read by policymakers and center directors to make educated decisions regarding the nap opportunities in the classrooms," she added. "Children should not only be given the opportunity, they should be encouraged to sleep by creating an environment which supports it."

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