Numerous studies have shown just how important sleep is to the brain and its development. A recent one is providing another reason to make sure your children get the proper amount of sleep.
Published in the journal Brain Sciences, a new study shows that connections are strengthened between the right and left hemispheres of the brain during sleep, as much as 20% in just one night. The connections are strengthened by the formation of myelin around brain nerve fibers. Myelin is almost a form of “insulation,” and is an important part of the movement of electrical impulses between cells.
The study involved electroencephalograms on eight children at ages 2, 3 and 5, to examine changes in brain activity with increasing age. They found that as the participants got older, the connections got stronger between the left and right hemispheres. As the children slept connections within hemispheres weakened, but strengthened between the hemispheres.
Researchers noted that the strengthening connections are signs of a maturing brain, which is important to building language and impulse control skills.
Sleep is important as children are constantly learning new information as they take in the world around them. Studies also show that proper sleep for children leads to better behavior and taking in less calories. Find out how much sleep your children need here!