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

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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