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Author Topic: How Well a Baby Sleeps Affects the Development of Key Brain Functions  (Read 1923 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
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« on: February 13, 2011, 02:56:55 pm »


Both chil­dren and adults need a good night sleep to func­tion at their best. A recent study, sum­ma­rized here, sug­gests that this is true for babies too: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influ­ence the devel­op­ment of his/her exec­u­tive func­tions. Exec­u­tive func­tions, sup­ported by the frontal lobes of the brain, are often con­sid­ered as indi­ca­tors of children’s like­li­hood of suc­ceed­ing in school. They involve decision-making, problem-solving, plan­ning, inhibit­ing, as well as other high-level func­tions (social behav­ior, emo­tional con­trol, work­ing mem­ory, etc.).
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Researchers asked par­ents to com­plete three-day sleep jour­nals when their infants were 12 and 18 months.[…] three vari­ables were iden­ti­fied: total hours of sleep, per­cent­age of total sleep occur­ring between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. and sleep fragmentation.
   
When the chil­dren reached 18 and 26 months of age, researchers gave the tod­dlers a bat­tery of tests to assess their exec­u­tive func­tions and gen­eral cog­ni­tive ability.
   
Chil­dren with a higher per­cent­age of sleep dur­ing the night were fur­ther along in the devel­op­ment of their exec­u­tive functioning
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