London: Children with sleep problems may find it harder to learn and remember new lessons, says a new research.

"Our results show that sleep disturbances have an impact on the developing brain and could affect the way children learn," said lead author Dezso Nemeth from Eotvos Loraind University in Hungary.

Sleep disturbance
Representational picture

The research found that disrupted sleep had an impact on different memory processes and how children learn. It is crucial that we identify and diagnose any sleep problems early in childhood and treat them properly to prevent this, Nemeth added.

The researchers analysed 17 children with sleep-disordered breathing aged between six and 12 years. They looked at different memory processes compared to a control group of 17 children of similar age without any sleep disorders.

A story recall task was used to measure memories that can be consciously recalled, known as declarative memory and a reaction time task was used to assess how the children learnt new skills and sequences.

The results found that children with sleep-disordered breathing had a lower declarative memory in the learning and testing phase, suggesting that sleep can not only hamper how a child consciously learns but can also have a negative effect on whether they remember this learning after a certain period of time.

The research was presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.