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Naps have been shown to benefit visuospatial learning in early childhood. This benefit has been associated with sleep spindles during the nap. However, whether young children's naps and their accompanying physiology benefit other forms of declarative learning is unknown. Using a novel storybook task, we found performance in children (N = 22, mean age = 51.23 months) was better following a nap compared to performance following an equivalent interval spent awake. Moreover, performance remained better the following day if a nap followed learning. Change in post‐nap performance was positively associated with the amount of time spent in slow wave sleep during the nap. This suggests that slow wave sleep in naps may support episodic memory consolidation in early childhood. Taken in conjunction with prior work, these results suggest that multiple features of brain physiology during naps may contribute to declarative memory processing in early childhood.
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Lokhandwala, Sanna and Spencer, Rebecca M. C., "Slow wave sleep in naps supports episodice memories in early childhood" (2020). Developmental Science. 35.