Study Suggests Nap Time Benefits High-Schoolers, Too
August 6, 2019
By: Shawna De La Rosa
Source: Education Dive
Naps may solve the problem of chronically sleep-deprived teenagers. A study in the journal Nature finds that naps may help students learn and retain information, according to coverage by Education Week. In the study, students who slept only five hours at night, but were given a 1 1/2-hour nap at 2 p.m., did better remembering pictures and facts than the students who slept 6 1/2 hours a night.
The study shows that naps don’t impair learning and memory retention and may actually improve it. A few districts, including the Chicago Public Schools and the Las Cruces Public Schools in New Mexico, have carved out nap time for older students and have created sleep areas. The teenage years are not conducive to sleep. Homework, extra curricular activities and the need to make extra money from part-time jobs all cut into a teen’s sleep schedule. In addition, teens’ circadian rhythms are working against them. Their melatonin doesn’t kick in until after 11, yet they have to get up early for school. That’s why more districts have been experimenting with later high school start times. The advocacy group Start School Later urges districts to find solutions that allow high school students to sleep in. So far, districts in 46 states have delayed high school start times. But because of transportation challenges, these aren’t easy changes to make.