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Thursday, February 12, 2015

How Napping Helps Babies Develop Their Memories

Turns out looking at things with fresh eyes, right after a rest, is not the best way to learn or remember new things – at least for babies. “The optimal time for infants to learn new information is just before they have a sleep,” reports Dr. Jane Herbert, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, who collaborated with researchers from Ruhr University Bochum, Germany on a study of babies’ ability to recall newly-learned skills. Without that nap, Herbert found babies completely forget what they’d learned. Researchers evaluated 216 infants – aged six months to 12 months – and their playtime with a hand puppet for the study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The babies were shown how to take off the puppet and move it around, then given the chance to repeat those actions themselves four hours later and 24 hours later. 
What they discovered is that babies who napped for at least 30 minutes (within four hours) after the puppet play were able to remember it, whereas non-nappers showed zero recall.More isn’t definitively better, though, when it comes to snooze sessions. “We did not get clear evidence for ‘the more, the better,’ effect of sleep in our study,” Herbert tells Yahoo
Parenting. “But we speculate that allowing more frequent naps on days when infants have a lot of new information to digest might help them to process that information better.”
In other words, she adds: “If your baby is falling asleep on the way home after a busy trip to the park, there may be benefits to letting him or her continue that nap, even if that is different from their normal sleep routine.”Just keep up the pre-nap books whenever you can. This study, says Herbert, “shows just how valuable activities like reading books with young children just before they go down to sleep can be.”
A bonus: Reading together can also help speed babies to shut-eye, says pediatric sleep consultant Ingrid Prueher. “Children feed off of our energy,” she says “So you don’t want to wind them up with active play pre-sleep. If you dim the lights and help them relax quietly with a book, they’ll get into sleep mode faster.”
Source: yahoo

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