ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2024, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (2): 287-299.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2024.00287

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇


彭芝琳1, 郑若颖2, 胡晓晴2, 张丹丹1()   

  1. 1四川师范大学脑与心理科学研究院, 成都 610066
    2香港大学心理学系, 脑与认知科学国家重点实验室, 香港 999077
  • 收稿日期:2023-06-15 出版日期:2024-02-15 发布日期:2023-11-23
  • 通讯作者: 张丹丹
  • 基金资助:

The role of sleep in consolidating memory of learning in infants and toddlers

PENG Zhilin1, ZHENG Ruoying2, HU Xiaoqing2, ZHANG Dandan1()   

  1. 1Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610066, China
    2Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong, State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Hong Kong, China
  • Received:2023-06-15 Online:2024-02-15 Published:2023-11-23
  • Contact: ZHANG Dandan


睡眠依赖性记忆巩固指在睡眠期间, 大脑对新学习的信息或技能进行重新处理和加强, 从而使记忆更加稳定和持久的过程。睡眠在将新习得的信息巩固到稳定的长时记忆的过程中发挥了重要的作用。记忆类型不同, 睡眠依赖性记忆巩固的作用也有所不同。同时, 睡眠的不同阶段和特征对不同类型记忆巩固的影响也有差异。在成人研究的基础上, 近年的婴幼儿研究发现, 即使在个体发展的早期阶段, 睡眠也具有记忆巩固的重要作用。在学习后经历睡眠的婴幼儿与那些没有经历睡眠的控制组相比, 学习效果显著提高、可以更好更快地解决问题。婴幼儿在睡眠时, 海马、内侧颞叶等与记忆有关的脑区会显著激活, 睡眠纺锤波、慢波等脑电特征与婴幼儿记忆巩固效果相关。从陈述性记忆和程序性记忆两种不同的记忆类型入手, 介绍婴幼儿睡眠依赖性记忆巩固的行为和脑研究的进展, 帮助掌握睡眠对婴幼儿学习的记忆巩固作用。

关键词: 婴幼儿, 睡眠, 记忆巩固, 睡眠慢波, 睡眠纺锤波


Sleep-dependent memory consolidation refers to the process during sleep in which the brain reprocesses and reinforces newly acquired information or skills, thereby enhancing the stability and longevity of memories. Sleep plays a pivotal role in consolidating recently acquired knowledge into enduring long-term memories. The influence of sleep-dependent memory consolidation varies depending on the type of memory, with different stages and characteristics of sleep exerting distinct effects on various memory processes.

Given the significant differences in sleep structure and physiological mechanisms between infants and adults, it is imperative not to extrapolate findings from adult studies directly to infants and toddlers. Additionally, owing to the remarkable neuroplasticity of the infant brain and its unique sleep patterns, investigating the impact of sleep on memory consolidation in infants can significantly deepen our comprehension of the neural mechanisms underlying sleep-dependent memory consolidation.

Building upon adult research, we present a synthesis of recent studies focusing on infants and toddlers, highlighting the critical role of sleep in memory consolidation during early development. Infants and toddlers who nap or sleep after learning consistently exhibit superior memory retention and enhanced problem-solving abilities compared to those who remain awake. During sleep, brain regions associated with memory, such as the hippocampus and medial temporal lobe, demonstrate significant activation. Distinct electroencephalogram (EEG) features, such as sleep spindles and slow waves, correlate with memory consolidation in infants and toddlers.

This paper addresses two primary forms of memory: declarative memory and procedural memory, shedding light on the impact of sleep-dependent memory consolidation in infants. In the realm of declarative memory, sleep enhances the quantity and accuracy of various episodic memory components, encompassing cartoon faces, toy manipulation, spatial locations, and chronological sequences. Moreover, distinct sleep features, such as sleep spindles and slow waves, make unique contributions to different episodic memories. Sleep also fosters selective memory consolidation, knowledge transfer, and the activation of memory-related brain regions, including the hippocampus, in infants and young children. These findings furnish valuable insights into the neural mechanisms governing sleep's role in early episodic memory development.

Regarding procedural memory, though limited studies exist on the relationship between infant sleep and procedural memory consolidation, some evidence suggests a positive influence of sleep on infant procedural memory. Future research should explore the interplay between sleep and motor skill development in infants, with particular emphasis on the role of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, as adult studies underscore its significance in procedural memory consolidation.

Despite the progress in this field, several unresolved questions persist. Future research should aim to address whether sleep exerts a memory-consolidating effect on newborns, elucidate the distinctions between sleep-dependent memory consolidation in infants and adults, systematically investigate the impact of sleep on infants' social and language learning, and discern how different sleep types, durations, and timings in infants and young children contribute to memory consolidation.

Key words: infants and toddlers, sleep, memory consolidation, sleep slow waves, sleep spindles