Children Need Both Naps and Overnight Sleep to Process Emotional Memories

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Massachusetts

Dr. Rebecca Spencer

Dr. Rebecca Spencer PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know that in young adults, sleep contributes to emotion processing. We wondered if naps work similarly for preschool children.  To look at this, we had children learn an emotional memory task and then either take a nap or stay awake.  We then tested their memory after that interval and again the next day.

We found that when children napped, they had better memory for those items the next day than if they did not nap.  That the naps seem to support memory (even if in a delayed fashion) seems consistent with the observation of parents and preschool teachers that children are often emotionally dysregulated if they do not nap.

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