Nap or Play?

Playtime – seventeen minutes! Naptime – thirty minutes! Are we on schedule?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Kids need sleep AND sports. But how much of each should go into a healthy recipe?

Emily Ng from University of South Australia and colleagues set out to investigate! More than a thousand middle schoolers participated in their study. The researchers monitored the children’s activity hourly for eight days. Play – eat – nap – repeat!

They analyzed the kids’ physical wellbeing by tracking their body mass index, waist girth and amount of body fat. Children were also surveyed about their mental state by grading phrases like “I feel angry.”  

Results? Just SEVENTEEN MINUTES of exercise had a similar effect on physical wellbeing as almost an hour of sleep! For mental health, thirty-five minutes of exercise was comparable to over an hour of snoozing. 

We might want our kids to chill out – for our own sanity! But the researchers say all that running and jumping is crucial for their health. 

Hmmm … what does science say about playing soccer WHILE napping?? Used to be my position–benchwarmer!

Reference: Ng, E., Wake, M., Olds, T., Lycett, K., Edwards, B., Le, H., & Dumuid, D. (2021). Equivalence Curves for Healthy Lifestyle Choices. Pediatrics, 147(4), e2020025395.