Sleep is increasingly recognized as a key process in neurodevelopment. Animal data show that sleep is essential for the maturation of fundamental brain functions, and growing epidemiological findings indicate that children with early sleep disturbance suffer from later cognitive, attentional, and psychosocial problems. Still, major gaps exist in understanding processes underlying links between sleep and neurodevelopment. One challenge is to translate findings from animal research to humans. In this review, we describe parallels and differences in sleep and development of the cortex in humans and animals and discuss emerging questions.
Keywords: Cortical development; Electroencephalographic recording; Function of sleep; Neurodevelopment; Sleep; White matter.