Babies and young children make giant developmental leaps all of the time. Sometimes, it seems, even overnight they figure out how to recognize certain shapes or what the word "no" means no matter who says it. It turns out that making those leaps could be a nap away: New research finds that infants who nap are better able to apply lessons learned to new skills, while preschoolers are better able to retain learned knowledge after napping.
"Sleep plays a crucial role in learning from early in development," says Rebecca Gómez of the University of Arizona. She will be presenting her new work, which looks specifically at how sleep enables babies and young children to learn language over time, at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) annual meeting in Boston today, as part of a symposium on sleep and memory.