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J Pediatr Psychol. 2017 Sep 1;42(8):837-845. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsx048.

Naps Enhance Executive Attention in Preschool-Aged Children.

Author information

1
Neuroscience and Behavior Program.
2
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Abstract

Objective:

Executive attention is impaired following sleep loss in school-aged children, adolescents, and adults. Whether naps improve attention relative to nap deprivation in preschool-aged children is unknown. The aim of this study was to compare executive attention in preschool children following a nap and an interval of wake.

Method:

Sixty-nine children, 35-70 months of age, completed a Flanker task to assess executive attention following a nap and an equivalent interval of wake.

Results:

Overall, accuracy was greater after the nap compared with the wake interval. Reaction time(s) did not differ between the nap and wake intervals. Results did not differ between children who napped consistently and those who napped inconsistently, suggesting that naps benefit executive attention of preschoolers regardless of nap habituality.

Conclusions:

These results indicate that naps enhance attention in preschool children. As executive attention supports executive functioning and learning, nap promotion may improve early education outcomes.

KEYWORDS:

executive attention; naps; preschool; sleep

PMID:
28340050
PMCID:
PMC5896583
DOI:
10.1093/jpepsy/jsx048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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