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14 Aug
New Study Reveals Importance of Sleep in Infant Memory New Study Reveals Importance of Sleep in Infant Memory

New Study Reveals Importance of Sleep in Infant Memory

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New parents encourage their infants to get plenty of sleep for a variety of reasons. But a new study may have them putting baby down more often. As infants begin to form memories, the study found, sleep is necessary to help them consolidate what they’ve learned.

Researchers have previously studied the benefits of sleep on consolidating memories in babies as young as six months, but this study goes back to an even earlier age, testing the benefits of frequent naps in children at only three months of age. Even a nap that is only an hour and a half in length after learning something new can make a big difference.

To determine the impact of a nap on learning, researchers showed babies one of two drawings of cartoon faces. Some of the babies were allowed to nap before all of the babies were shown both drawings. The infants who had napped were more likely to pay more attention to the face of the character they’d been shown before the nap. Those who didn’t nap were less predictable in the face they chose.

In addition to the memory test, researchers also looked at something called sleep spindles, which have been connected to memory consolidation in other sleep studies. The napping infants with the most sleep spindles tended to choose the correct face more quickly than those with fewer sleep spindles. The study was small, involving only 45 infants, so more research may be needed.

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Read 1182 times Last modified on Thursday, 03 August 2017 01:45
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on NYPost.com, PSMag.com, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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