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A mid-day nap at least 3x per week in children ages 10-12 was associated with a 7.6% increase in academic performance, elevated mood, improved self-control, and fewer behavioral problems.
This study was conducted in 3,000 school children in China where napping continues through elementary and middle school, even into adulthood. It is well known that napping is critical for intellectual development and emotional regulation in infants and toddlers so it is not too surprising that naps may be beneficial for older children as well.
Additionally, many school children remain drowsy throughout the day as a consequence of early school start times. The authors of this study propose an interesting potential “middle ground” solution to the early start times; mid-day naps at school.
This study was not a randomized controlled trial which is necessary to establish causation. Still, I think almost every parent would agree that naps make happier and healthier children.