REM sleep in naps differentially relates to memory consolidation in typical preschoolers and children with Down syndrome

Goffredina Spanò, Rebecca L. Gómez, Bianca I. Demara, Mary Alt, Stephen L. Cowen, Jamie O. Edgin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sleep is recognized as a physiological state associated with learning, with studies showing that knowledge acquisition improves with naps. Little work has examined sleep-dependent learning in people with developmental disorders, for whom sleep quality is often impaired. We examined the effect of natural, in-home naps on word learning in typical young children and children with Down syndrome (DS). Despite similar immediate memory retention, naps benefitted memory performance in typical children but hindered performance in children with DS, who retained less when tested after a nap, but were more accurate after a wake interval. These effects of napping persisted 24 h later in both groups, even after an intervening overnight period of sleep. During naps in typical children, memory retention for object-label associations correlated positively with percent of time in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. However, in children with DS, a population with reduced REM, learning was impaired, but only after the nap. This finding shows that a nap can increase memory loss in a subpopulation, highlighting that naps are not universally beneficial. Further, in healthy preschooler’s naps, processes in REM sleep may benefit learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11844-11849
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume115
Issue number46
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 13 2018

Keywords

  • Development
  • Down syndrome
  • Memory
  • Naps
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'REM sleep in naps differentially relates to memory consolidation in typical preschoolers and children with Down syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this