Research shows that disrupted sleep could harm a child's memory processes.
A new study, presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference this year, from the University of Szeged and Eötvös Loránd University found that children with sleep disordered breathing had more difficulty retaining memories and learnt information compared to those without sleep disorders.
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, sleep disordered breathing is “a general term for breathing difficulties occurring during sleep.”
The study analyzed 17 children between ages 6 and 12 with sleep disordered breathing. They compared the memory processes of these children with a control group of 17 children of the same age group without any sleep disorders.
The first part of the study involved a learning session, then after a 12-hour period which included sleep, the children were tested on whether they had retained what they learned in the learning session.
The researchers tested for declarative memory, which are memories that can be consciously recalled and for non-declarative which are memories from new learnt skills.
Results showed that children with sleep disordered breathing had lower declarative memory for both the learning and testing sessions. This suggested that not only did the children have more difficulty learning, but their sleep disorder also hindered their ability to remember what they learnt. Results of non-declarative memory were the same for both groups of children.
“If these findings are confirmed in larger studies, we can tailor the training and rehabilitation therapies we provide to children with sleep disordered breathing by focusing on improving the conscious memory processes,” said lead author Dezso Nemeth.
Sources: April 15, 2015. "Disruption of sleep in children could hamper memory processes". sciencedaily.com April 15, 2015. "Disruption Of Sleep In Children May Hamper Memory Processes". universityherald.com