A team of researchers from the University of Sheffield and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum has conducted a research that suggests babies remember and learn better when things are shown to them right before they hit their beds.

About 216 babies aged 6 to 12 months old were used for the experiment to prove that children learn a lesson better when they are offered before they go to sleep; in other words, that learning right before a nap improves memory and the ability for total recall.

Called deferred imitation, the researchers demonstrated an action that involved removing a mitten from a puppet, shaking a bell three times on the mitten, and then replacing the mitten. A test was then conducted to confirm if babies were able to reproduce these actions just four and 24 hours after they wake from sleep.

However, for control purposes, the 216 babies were split into three groups: a group napped for a minimum of 30 minutes at a go; the second group slept for lesser than 29 minutes at a run; and the third group never got any demonstrations from the researchers.

Eventually, the babies that slept for a minimum of 30 minutes remembered the demonstrated actions with clarity – meaning the action was learned by them; the group that slept for lesser than 29 minutes remember the actions with some difficulty – meaning they also learned the lesson; but not the baseline group that never learned anything.

To confirm the veracity of the results obtained, the researchers conducted another experiment that tested to see if children that sleep all through a night remember lessons that took place the day before. The results? Babies that sleep immediately after the lesson was shown to them remembered perfectly the lesson the following day, but the babies that failed to sleep failed to remember anything or details of the lesson or action.

This study establishes the fact that nighttime or bedtime stories develop the vocabulary of children early in life and it helps them to recall events and situations. Would you try it with your baby today?

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