While sleeping for a long time is said to be good for infants for a number of reasons, it has been found recently that babies are able to develop their memory better when they are able to sleep long.

Memory development in infants boosted by napping

Memory development in infants boosted by napping

The recent research on how babies develop memory and retain their behavior has revealed that infants tend to develop a good memory when they are able to sleep for a long time. Researcher Jane Herbert from the University of Sheffield said, “These findings are particularly interesting to both parents and educationalists because they suggest that the optimal time for infants to learn new information is just before they have a sleep.”
A team of researchers explored whether or not daytime sleep after learning something helped infants remember their new behavior. The study included 216 healthy infants in the age group of six to twelve months and they were tested for their ability to recall newly learned skills. They were taught how to remove and manipulate a mitten from a hand puppet.
After the lesson, some of them were made to sleep and only those who slept remembered the target actions and those who did not nap did not show evidences of remembering the information and behavior. After a delay of 24 hours the children in the napping group also showed significantly better recalling power compared to the group that did not nap.
Herbert said, “Until now people have presumed that the best time for infants to learn is when they are wide-awake, rather than when they are starting to feel tired. Our results show that activities occurring just before infants have a nap can be particularly valuable and well-remembered.” The study was published in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.