Sleep has been shown to facilitate the consolidation of newly acquired motor memories in adults. However, the role of sleep in motor memory consolidation is less clear in children and adolescents, especially concerning real-life gross-motor skills. Therefore, we investigated the effects of sleep and wakefulness on a complex gross-motor adaptation task by using a bicycle with an inverse steering device. A total of 29 healthy adolescents aged between 11 and 14 years (five female) were either trained to ride an inverse steering bicycle (learning condition) or a stationary bicycle (control condition). Training took place in the morning (wake, n = 14) or in the evening (sleep, n = 15) followed by a 9-hr retention interval and a subsequent re-test session. Slalom cycling performance was assessed by speed (riding time) and accuracy (standard deviation of steering angle) measures. Behavioural results showed no evidence for sleep-dependent memory consolidation. However, overnight gains in accuracy were associated with an increase in left hemispheric N2 slow sleep spindle activity from control to learning night. Furthermore, decreases in REM and tonic REM duration were related to higher overnight improvements in accuracy. Regarding speed, an increase in REM and tonic REM duration was favourable for higher overnight gains in riding time. Thus, although not yet detectable on a behavioural level, sleep seemed to play a role in the acquisition of gross-motor skills. A promising direction for future research is to focus on the possibility of delayed performance gains in adolescent populations.
Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012
- 501 Psychologie