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Let us sleep to greater education

Imagine if in the future, your students could improve their alertness during the afternoon by 50%. I am pretty sure that could help you in your teaching, not to mention what it would do for your students’ performance.

Taking a napNASA did a well-cited study that suggests that you can increase performance by up to 34% and alertness by up to 54%, if you take a 26 minute nap during the day. The study was done in another environment with adults, but I think that it says something about the future possibilities of performance related to taking a nap.

We can easily adjust the school day to include 30 minutes for a nap after lunch, if it means improvement in education. I wouldn’t mind having my kids come home 30 minutes later each day if they have been given a better chance to absorb their learning (not only because of their own nap, but also their peers).

Taking a nap has a bad ring to it, mostly because it is not accepted to take a nap at work or school. But, what if tomorrow your employer ordered all employees to take a 30 minute nap every day; wouldn’t that make all the difference?

As usual, if we get students to adopt something from an early age it would not be a problem to maintain it. It might be difficult for you to suggest that your 14 year old students should take a nap tomorrow when they go to school, but if you ask the kindergarten that supplies your school not to stop with their naps then it will be no problem for your first graders to adopt the idea of taking a nap when they start with you.

The best time to take a nap is between 1-3 pm, so either your students can take a nap directly after lunch or a bit later in the afternoon. Just clear the room of desks (if you still have any), close the blinds and have the students bring out their mattresses and take their nap. Jennifer Ackerman has made a good summary of what to think of when taking a nap.

A nap for better alertness will, most likely, also decrease the consumption of substances to try to stay alert, like coffee, energy drinks, etc. If we are lucky, a side effect of the naps would be healthier living since it is said to reduce stress and lower the risk of weight gain, diabetes, stroke and heart attack (a major study completed with adults from Greece shows that there is 64% less risk of dying of heart disease if you take naps three times a week).

Do you have any experience with your students taking a nap after lunch? Do you know of any research that has been made regarding students taking a nap while in school? What would be really interesting is a study that takes into account the information overload that most students nowadays are dealing with. How is the digestion and learning of this information affected by taking regular naps?

So, if your school board is considering investing in expensive technical equipment for your students to get a better education, make sure they have bought the students mattresses and pillows first…

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