Young children learn rapidly about the world around them. Rebecca Gomez has discovered that sleep patterns profoundly affect that learning. Both infants and 3 year olds who take a nap immediately after a novel experience remember the experience the next day, whereas children who do not sleep do not. Her research suggests that daytime naps are critical for the first steps in memory stabilization in young children, because the brain structures for the first steps of memory are still developing. Those first steps are essential for the more permanent stabilization of memories that occurs during nighttime sleep.
IN THIS EPISODE
Rebecca Gomez, Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona
Leslie Tolbert, Ph. D., Director and Head of the UofA's Lunar and Planetary Lab