Editorial Summary—Post-class naps boost declarative learning in a naturalistic school setting

Sleeping at school is shown to enhance students learning and memory of information

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A research team led by Sidarta Rebeiro from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil have shown post class sleep time enhances the retention of information learnt by students in their new article "Post-class naps boost declarative learning in a naturalistic school setting”. Previous studies have reported students ability to retain information can be impacted by a lack of sleep during the night (sleep debt). There are two stages of sleep, rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and Stage Two sleep. Apparently, REM sleeps benefits creativity or abstract thinking, while Stage Two sleep is linked to declarative memory or the rote memorisation of information. 

The aim of this study was to assess whether sleeping following morning class would improve students ability to remember their lessons. The experiment was implemented in an actual school setting over six weeks. 24 students from Grade 5 were selected at random to participate in the experiment, with a separate control group comprising of 26 students. 

Each week, all the students attended their normal classes but the treatment group would take a nap after morning class. The content the students were taught and tested on was consistent with the benefits Stage Two sleep offers. The control and treatment student groups completed exams each week and the results revealed that sleeping for more than 30 minutes following morning classes improved students recall of information. 

This article is freely available in our companion journal npj Science of Learning here.

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in science research and content creation.