The contribution of good sleep to working memory in preschool: A matter of sleep quality or duration?

Maayan Peled, Anat Scher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Good sleep is essential for efficient cognitive performance. The present research examined the link between sleep and working memory (WM) during early childhood, a period of major advances in neurodevelopment. The sample included 80 healthy children, 40 3-year-olds and 40 4-year-olds, attending childcare settings. The children were individually tested using WM tasks; parents completed sleep questionnaires. On a group level, WM improved with age. Process model analysis demonstrated the effect of age on WM (P = 0.001) and indicated an age-specific involvement of sleep quality (P = 0.01). Whereas sleep duration was not associated with WM, at 4 years of age, sleep disturbance with physical symptoms (e.g., breathing, motor) was associated with poor WM performance. Among 3-year-old girls, fear-related sleep disruption was associated with better WM performance. Together, the results suggest that the association between sleep and WM is dependent on: (a) specific aspects of sleep, (b) age, and (c) gender. More research is essential for unraveling the underlying neuro-maturational processes and mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives on the Relation between Sleep and Learning in Early Development
EditorsSarah E. Berger, Regina T. Harbourne, Anat Scher
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780323851138
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Publication series

NameAdvances in Child Development and Behavior
ISSN (Print)0065-2407

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Child
  • Development
  • Executive functions
  • Preschool age
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Working memory
  • Age Factors
  • Humans
  • Parents
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Memory, Short-Term

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'The contribution of good sleep to working memory in preschool: A matter of sleep quality or duration?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this