Sleep is vital to the health of the brain and essential for optimal language learning and memory. Observational studies of people with sleep disorders sometimes reveal weaknesses in language learning and memory, and conversely, studies of people with language disorders sometimes reveal problems with sleep. Experimental manipulations of sleep periods before and after learning periods demonstrate a causal role for sleep in language learning and memory.

As any parent can attest, sleep changes as children grow. During early infancy, sleep occurs in fragments throughout the night and day. As sleep matures, it becomes more exclusively nocturnal, and the stages of sleep become more clearly delineated. Children who are slower to develop mature sleep patterns present with lower vocabulary levels than their peers throughout the preschool years. ...

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