Sleep and learning are closely connected. Researchers in Hungary recently confirmed this in a study conducted on children aged between 6 and 12, some of whom were suffering from ‘respiratory sleep disorders’ – a term that describes abnormal breathing during the night time, similar to apnoea.
Dr Eszter Csabi and her team at the University of Szeged in southern Hungary worked with 34 children aged from 6 to 12, 17 of whom suffered from respiratory sleep disorders. The other 17 formed a control group.
The participants were brought together for two sessions, separated by a sleep time of 12 hours. The aim was to assess their capacity to learn and memorise. At the end of the study, the scientists observed that the young patients scored less well on the declarative memory tests. In other words, the type of memory that relates to the storage and recovery of information and consequently to the capacity to consciously recall facts and events.
Dr Csabi believes that “this finding is important. If confirmed in further studies, it may become possible to envisage treatment for the children concerned. This would therefore focus on the declarative memory process and would aim to train the brain”.