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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Sleep undergoes rapid and remarkable changes in structure and organization in the first few years of life. This is paralleled by similar changes in the brain. Evidence from studies in animals and, to a lesser extent infants, suggests that sleep plays a major role in cortical development, with sleep quality early in life predicting cognitive functioning later in life. Sleep is also important for cortical functioning. The most well-explored domain has been memory, with both REM and NREM sleep and possibly specific EEG frequencies within a sleep stage differentially affecting the formation and consolidation of differing memory types. Finally, sleep is important for optimal daytime functioning. Both sleep restriction and sleep pathology have negative and characteristic impacts on neuropsychological and behavioral functioning. Despite advances, however, our understanding of the role played by sleep in the interaction between gene expression and neural development, in neurocircuit formation, and, finally, on the interaction between sensory input and neural development remain to be more fully explored.

Keywords: sleep, infant, development, learning, memory, brain, neurocognitive, behavior

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