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APSS: Napping Linked to Better Daytime Functioning in Children

Less hyperactivity, anxiety, depression found in 4- and 5-year-olds who took naps

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Preschool children who take naps may function better during the day, according to research presented at SLEEP 2009, the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, held from June 6 to 11 in Seattle.

Brian Crosby, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and colleagues analyzed data from 62 children, ages 4 and 5 years. Their guardians provided information on the children's usual bedtime, wake-up time, and napping patterns, and completed the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-II). Children wore actigraphs continuously for seven to 14 days.

The researchers found that, based on actigraphy data, 77 percent were classified as nappers, taking naps on an average of 3.4 days per week. The two groups had similar amounts of total sleep time based on actigraphy. The authors further note that non-napping children, based on caregiver reports, had higher scores on the hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression subscales of the BASC-II.

"The findings of this study indicate that significant relationships exist between napping and indicators of psychosocial functioning; however, the correlational nature of these data do not allow for causal conclusions. Additional research is needed to understand the impact of napping on the individual child's developmental trajectory (e.g., development of psychopathology). Better understanding of the importance of napping would likely be of interest to parents, educators, and clinicians," the authors conclude.

Abstract - Page 134

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