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Toddler Naps

January 19, 2012

New evidence suggests that napping helps young children regulate their emotions and take pleasure in their activities.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

How sleep affects mood…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Napping helps toddlers solve problems and cope emotionally. This according to University of Colorado, Boulder experimental psychologist Monique LeBourgeois. She and her team had toddlers put puzzles together after they’d either napped or been deprived of their nap. One puzzle was solvable, and the other was unsolvable because a piece had been replaced with one that didn’t fit. 

MONIQUE LeBOURGEOIS (University of Colorado, Boulder):

What we found is, when they had their naps, they were better able to emotionally cope with the challenges that were in this task; when kids didn’t have their nap, we saw a striking decrease in emotions such as joy, excitement and interest. Likewise, when kids didn’t have their nap we saw a big increase in negative emotions, primarily anxiety or worry.

HIRSHON:

She says it’s possible that getting adequate sleep in early childhood could be protective against mood disorders later in life. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.