Proper Sleep is important for good memory and learning capability

Child sleeping (Credit: Visualphotos)Researchers have found that sleep strengthens our learning capability and this process is even more effective in children than in adults.

This research has been published online in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Researchers reported that a good level of sleep is important for children; it helps them to store the information, which they have learned during the day, in the brain.

According to Dr. Ines Wilhelm of the University of Tübingen’s Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, brains of the children transform the information in the subconscious mind to the active knowledge during sleep and this process is more effective in them as compared to the adult brains. For adults sleeping helps in long-term storage of the learned material. Moreover, sleeping helps to make the future learning easy; implicit knowledge becomes explicit by turning the memory into a form that is easily transferred to the other areas of the brain.

“In children, much more efficient explicit knowledge is generated during sleep from a previously learned implicit task,” Wilhelm said. And the children’s extraordinary ability is linked with the large amount of deep sleep they get at night. “The formation of explicit knowledge appears to be a very specific ability of childhood sleep, since children typically benefit as much or less than adults from sleep when it comes to other types of memory tasks.”

This research shows that the children must have to sleep longer and deeper while taking a good level of information in the day.

In another study, published some weeks later, researchers found that lighter sleep may decrease the memory skills in adults and this disturbed sleep quality and memory skills have been attributed to the disturbance in a specific brain region known as medial prefrontal cortex. They published the research ‘Prefrontal atrophy, disrupted NREM slow waves and impaired hippocampal-dependent memory in aging” in the same journal on January 27.

“In the young adults, sleep was doing a really good job at not letting those memories dissolve,” found study author Matthew Walker, an associate professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. Due to disturbed brain part, “Sleep just wasn’t doing that same kind of job in the elderly. As a consequence, they had far more severe forgetting, and a significant reason was because of the quality of their deep sleep.”


Bryce A Mander, Vikram Rao, Brandon Lu, Jared M Saletin, John R Lindquist, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, William Jagust & Matthew P Walker, (2013). explained Nature Neuroscience, doi: 10.1038/nn.3324

Ines Wilhelm, Michael Rose, Kathrin I. Imhof, Björn Rasch, Christian Büchel, Jan Born, (2013). Prefrontal atrophy, disrupted NREM slow waves and impaired hippocampal-dependent memory in aging. Nature Neuroscience, doi: 10.1038/nn.3343

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