Researchers looking at the link between sleep-wake consolidation and language development in infants found that poor sleep consolidation in the first 2 years of life can be a risk factor regarding language learning.
The study shows that children with language delays at 60 months of age had problems with sleep consolidation at both 6 and 18 months. They were more likely to have language delays than those participants with good sleep consolidation, whether they showed delays early on or not. Over 1000 sets of twins from Quebec were observed in this study, with sleep consolidation data contributed by parental reports of day/night consecutive sleeping durations. Language skills were assessed at 18, 30, and 60 months, and sleep consolidation was observed at 6, 18, and 30 months.
While poor sleep consolidation in the first few years may hinder language development, there is good news. Good sleep consolidation may foster learning through both genetic and environmental influences.