Priscilla Lee

Priscilla Lee

Young Children Strengthen Brain Connections During Sleep

By priscillalee | December 12, 2014 | 0 Comment

Sleep is very important to all human beings, even though we only understand very little of what function does sleep serve and why it is so important. Scientists seem to have theory of what goes on when young children sleep. They have found that sleep helps brain functions to mature, although it might be possible that inadequate sleep in childhood may affect the maturation of the brain related to the emergence of developmental or mood disorders.

sleepingchild

Picture from anissat

While young children sleep, connections between the left and the right hemispheres of their brain strengthen, which may help brain functions mature, according to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The research team—led by Salome Kurth, a postdoctoral researcher, and Monique LeBourgeois, assistant professor in integrative physiology—used electroencephalograms, or EEGs, to measure the brain activity of eight sleeping children multiple times at the ages of 2, 3 and 5 years.

“Interestingly, during a night of sleep, connections weakened within hemispheres but strengthened between hemispheres,” Kurth said.

They found that connections in the brain generally became stronger during sleep as the children aged. They also found that the strength of the connections between the left and right hemispheres increased by as much as 20 percent over a night’s sleep.

“There are strong indications that sleep and brain maturation are closely related, but at this time, it is not known how sleep leads to changes in brain structure,” Kurth said.

Moral of the story? Have enough sleep (7 to 8 hours per night)!

– See more at: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2013/11/20/connections-brains-young-children-strengthen-during-sleep-cu-boulder-study#sthash.CaX1cIyu.dpuf

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