Communicating through language changed the course of human evolution. Connecting common thoughts and ideas fostered the growth of our civilization and culture. Now research suggests that sleep consolidation in the early years of a child’s life is integral to mastering this skill.
As reported in the journal SLEEP, a longitudinal study involving 1,029 twins from the Quebec Newborn Twin Study focused on sleep consolidation during the first two years of life. Using parental reporting, the twins’ sleep times were measured at 6, 18 and 30 months of age. Language skills were measured at 18 and 30 months with the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventory, a standardized system used to determine development of early vocabulary. At 60 months the researchers used the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test to measure language development.
Results show that the day/night sleep ratio decreased significantly from 6 to 30 months of age. Children with language delays at 60 months had less mature sleep consolidation at both 6 and 18 months than children without delays and those with transient early delays. This suggests the earlier children attain a consolidated sleep schedule, the more quickly they may develop language skills.
Providing children with an environment conducive to sleep is essential for their development. Try to encourage a regular bedtime and create a cool, quiet and comfortable sleeping area to foster uninterrupted nighttime sleep.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s sleep, the specialists at Oregon Sleep Associates are well versed in pediatric sleep medicine. Contact them at 503-288-5201 for more information.