A daytime nap combined with nighttime sleep promotes learning in toddlers

Denise M. Werchan, Ji Soo Kim, Rebecca L. Gómez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Napping after learning promotes consolidation of new information during infancy. Yet, whether naps play a similar role during toddlerhood, a stage when many children are beginning to transition away from napping, is less clear. In Experiment 1, we examined whether napping after learning promotes generalization of novel category exemplars 24 h later. Young children (N = 54, age range = 29–36 months) viewed three category exemplars in different contexts from each of three categories and remained awake (No-Nap condition) or napped (Nap condition) after encoding and were then tested 24 h later. Children who napped after learning showed superior generalization 24 h later relative to children who did not nap. In a Nap-Control condition tested 4 h after awakening from a nap, children performed at the same low level as in the No-Nap condition, indicating that generalization stemmed from an additional period of nighttime sleep and not simply from a nap or increased time. In Experiment 2, we examined whether nighttime sleep is sufficient for generalization if it occurs soon after learning. An additional group of children (N = 18) learned before bedtime and were tested 4 h after waking up the next day. Children did not generalize as well as those who had a nap combined with subsequent nighttime sleep. These findings suggest that naps, when combined with a period of nighttime sleep, might help toddlers to retain newly learned information and lead to delayed benefits in generalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105006
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume202
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Generalization
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Napping
  • Sleep
  • Toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A daytime nap combined with nighttime sleep promotes learning in toddlers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this