Researchers at the Institute of Neuroscience at the Free University of Brussels demonstrated through research that was recently published in the journal NeuroImage a half-hour nap improves memory and learning of children.
Experts explain that the brain is active during sleep and two types of memory are consolidated: declarative memory, related to learning theoretical concepts such as the definitions of words, and procedural memory, associated with the acquired techniques as play an instrument.
In turn sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, from short-term memory to long term memory because while the information is sleeping is transferred from the hippo-campus to the areas of crust long-term memory.
Impact on children
Image Credit: tesco-baby.com
Charline Urbain and Phillippe Peigneux, Center for Cognition and Neurosciences of the Faculty of Psychology and Education conducted a study to assess the impact of a nap on children’s learning.
For work counted on the participation of a group of completely healthy children and an average age of 10 years, who underwent an experiment with magnetoencephalography (MEG) at the Erasmus Hospital which was divided into two phases: First they showed them pictures of imaginary objects, each with a definition that had to learn and found that the hippocampus was heavily involved in that learning.
Then in the second stage the children were divided into two groups, one that slept half-hour nap, and one that rested without sleeping, and then returned to MEG, where researchers returned to present the images of imaginary objects, that should give a new definition.
The MEG is a noninvasive technique that records the brain functional activity, by sensing magnetic fields, allowing investigate relationships between brain structures and functions.
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Peigneux, leader of the team that conducted the research explained that after the study, “we realized that children who had napped areas of the prefrontal cortex (and not the hippocampus) were predominantly active. In other words, with a short half-hour nap, consolidation of memory (long-term transition) had already occurred “.
While Urbain, lead author of the work said: “This transfer of the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex was observed in adults, but only 3 months after learning. Our study suggests that sleep in the child allows faster assimilation of new learning and practice of postaprendizaje after naps can improve memory consolidation. ”