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Dev Sci. 2018 May;21(3):e12587. doi: 10.1111/desc.12587. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

Memory in 3-month-old infants benefits from a short nap.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.
2
2nd Department of Pediatrics, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.
3
Institute for Behavioral Sciences, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.
4
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary.

Abstract

A broad range of studies demonstrate that sleep has a facilitating role in memory consolidation (see Rasch & Born, ). Whether sleep-dependent memory consolidation is also apparent in infants in their first few months of life has not been investigated. We demonstrate that 3-month-old infants only remember a cartoon face approximately 1.5-2 hours after its first presentation when a period of sleep followed learning. Furthermore, habituation time, that is, the time to become bored with a stimulus shown repetitively, correlated negatively with the density of infant sleep spindles, implying that processing speed is linked to specific electroencephalographic components of sleep. Our findings show that without a short period of sleep infants have problems remembering a newly seen face, that sleep enhances memory consolidation from a very early age, highlighting the importance of napping in infancy, and that infant sleep spindles may be associated with some aspects of cognitive ability.

PMID:
28722249
DOI:
10.1111/desc.12587
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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