Sleep in children improves memory performance on declarative but not procedural tasks.Learn Mem. 2008 May; 15(5):373-7.LM
Sleep supports the consolidation of memory in adults. Childhood is a period hallmarked by huge demands of brain plasticity as well as great amounts of efficient sleep. Whether sleep supports memory consolidation in children as in adults is unclear. We compared effects of nocturnal sleep (versus daytime wakefulness) on consolidation of declarative (word-pair associates, two-dimensional [2D] object location), and procedural memories (finger sequence tapping) in 15 children (6-8 yr) and 15 adults. Beneficial effects of sleep on retention of declarative memories were comparable in children and adults. However, opposite to adults, children showed smaller improvement in finger-tapping skill across retention sleep than wakefulness, indicating that sleep-dependent procedural memory consolidation depends on developmental stage.