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Exp Brain Res. 2016 Mar;234(3):763-72. doi: 10.1007/s00221-015-4506-3. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

Delayed benefit of naps on motor learning in preschool children.

Author information

1
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 135 Hicks Way, Tobin 419, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA.
2
Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.
3
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 135 Hicks Way, Tobin 419, Amherst, MA, 01003, USA. rspencer@psych.umass.edu.
4
Neuroscience and Behavior Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA. rspencer@psych.umass.edu.

Abstract

Sleep benefits memory consolidation across a variety of domains in young adults. However, while declarative memories benefit from sleep in young children, such improvements are not consistently seen for procedural skill learning. Here we examined whether performance improvements on a procedural task, although not immediately observed, are evident after a longer delay when augmented by overnight sleep (24 h after learning). We trained 47 children, aged 33-71 months, on a serial reaction time task and, using a within-subject design, evaluated performance at three time points: immediately after learning, after a daytime nap (nap condition) or equivalent wake opportunity (wake condition), and 24 h after learning. Consistent with previous studies, performance improvements following the nap did not differ from performance improvements following an equivalent interval spent awake. However, significant benefits of the nap were found when performance was assessed 24 h after learning. This research demonstrates that motor skill learning is benefited by sleep, but that this benefit is only evident after an extended period of time.

KEYWORDS:

Children; Motor skill learning; Nap; Procedural memory; Sleep

PMID:
26645305
PMCID:
PMC4752887
[Available on 2017-03-01]
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-015-4506-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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