Four months after AutisMag reported on the effects of Autism on Sleep deprivation, researchers have now reverse engineered the “correlation” (sleep issues) to diagnose the “causation” (ASD). In this report, we discover how some researchers believe that studying sleep patterns could, in reality, help in better Autism diagnosis.
Did you know that humans spend more than one third of their lives sleeping? Although this might sound like a lot, it’s been shown that sleep plays a vital role in normal human functioning.
Lack of proper sleep can have disastrous effects on the normal functioning of the body.
Sleep is not only important for getting through the day; it also plays an important role in memory processing. It helps to allow the brain to transfer memories into a permanent storage system.
Researchers at Sleep Language and Memory (SLAM) have stressed the relationship between language learning and sleep. Sleep also has an impact on memory strengthening, which helps both adults and children in remembering newly-learned words.
It has also been shown that people who regularly get adequate sleep show greater improvement in their memories. When a person learns something new before going to sleep, it gets embedded into mental memory and strengthens as the brain gets adequate rest before grasping additional information.
As a part of the study, children were asked to learn new words before and after sleep and sleep deprivation. Decent improvements were seen in vocabulary learning after a period of blissful sleep, in comparison to learning after staying awake. Children could recall newly-learned words better than their peers who were made to learn new words without sleep.
The SLAM lab is working on discovering the optimal delay period between learning something new and going to the bed. The researchers include bedtime stories for young children to assist them in their research.
Sleep and Developmental Disorders
The research can further aid in understanding developmental disorders. This could be one of the major reasons that children with autism disorders, dyslexia, and ADHD develop sleeping problems, which affects the lives of these children.
A staggering 86% of autistic individuals are thought to be affected by sleeping disorders. Thus, learning difficulties combined with sleeping disorders end up causing permanent damage in their daily lives.
SLAM Lab is working on a project called SleepSmart and has been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council. The aim of the SleepSmart project will be to identify how proper sleep assists in language learning, for both normal-developing children and those diagnosed with autism.
This type of study and research has become very important and could help to make a difference in individuals’ lives. Although research in the field of sleeping is gaining importance and is in its initial phase, it still helps one to understand the importance of sleep.
Nevertheless, more importance is usually placed on the things that we do while we are awake than getting enough sleep. This could be one of the major reasons that we start stressing the importance of sleep for young children.