Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Sarah E. Berger

Committee Members

Lana B. Karasik

Wei Wang

Jennifer E. Drake

Anat Scher

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology


infancy, sleep, motor, development, learning, movement


The aim of this dissertation is to summarize and extend work in the field of infant sleep and motor development. Chapter 1 summarizes what is currently known about typical infant sleep development and the way that sleep impacts learning throughout infancy. Chapter 2 describes two experiments showing the importance of napping and night sleep in the consolidation of gross motor learning. Given that sleep is beneficial for learning throughout human infancy, the remainder of the dissertation investigates how learning (in this case, motor development) impacts sleep. Chapter 3 establishes the possible role of sleep-dependent movement in sleep disruption resulting from gross motor experience. Chapters 4 and 5 examine the different attributes of movement during sleep and how they change with motor milestone acquisition. The results of the study in Chapter 4 suggest that each motor milestone impacts sleep and the spatial aspects of movement differently. Using the microgenetic method, Chapter 5 expands on the movement that infants are engaged in at night surrounding the acquisition of crawling and walking and finds that infants perform potentially skill-relevant movements at the onset of each skill. Finally in Chapter 6, I propose a new cyclical model of motor development and sleep and discuss limitations and future directions for work in the field of infant motor development and infant sleep.