Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Sleep and learning in children


Kristiaan van der Heijden
Nationaal Initiatief Hersenen en Cognitie Nationaal Initiatief Hersenen en Cognitie

A wealth of studies in adults has demonstrated detrimental effects of experimental sleep restriction or disruption on learning, cognitive performance and brain function. Relatively few studies have evaluated the association of sleep with learning processes in children. 

This project aims to elucidate several crucial aspects concerning sleep and cognition in children:

  1. the sensitivity of different aspects of learning and consolidation processes to variation in sleep quantity and quality;
  2. individual differences in the role of sleep in learning, such as psychopathology, emotion/arousal regulation, familial occurrence of insomnia;
  3. early signs of altered sleep and arousal levels and its consequences for learning in children of parents with a family history of insomnia;
  4. enhancement of learning capacities by sleep improvement in individual children at risk.

This is a collaborative project with the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience.

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