Medical News You Can Use: Sleep Apnea Can Harm Children’s Learning
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Disruption Of Sleep In Children Could Hamper Memory Processes
Sleep disordered breathing can hamper memory processes in children, according to a new study presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference held in April in Barcelona, Spain. The research found that disrupted sleep had a negative effect upon different memory processes and how children learn.
A team of researchers from the University of Szeged and Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary analyzed 17 children with sleep disordered breathing aged between 6 and 12 years. They looked at different memory processes compared to a control group of 17 children of similar age without any sleep disorders.
A story recall task was used to measure memories that can be consciously recalled, known as declarative memory, and a reaction time task was used to assess how the children learned new skills and sequences, known as non-declarative memory. This is the first study to compare the impact of sleep disturbances on these separate memory processes in children.
The children were assessed across two sessions: a learning session and a testing session, which was separated by a 12-hour period that included sleep. This allowed the researchers to understand whether the children consolidated the information they learned or had forgotten it by the next session.
The results found that children with sleep disordered breathing had a lower declarative memory in the learning and testing phase, suggesting that sleep can not only hamper how a child consciously learns but can also have a negative effect on whether they remember this learning after a period of time. The learning of new sequences and skills using non-declarative memory was not hampered by sleep disordered breathing in either session.
The authors concluded that disruption of sleep can affect the memory in different ways but is likely to hamper the declarative memory processes more than non-declarative processes.