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The characteristics of infant sleep change over the first year. Generally, infants wake and move less at night as they grow older. However, acquisition of new motor skills leads to temporary increases in night waking and movement at night. Indeed, sleep-dependent movement at night is important for sensorimotor development. Nevertheless, little is known about how movement during sleep changes as infants accrue locomotor experience. The current study investigated whether infant sleep and movement during sleep were predicted by infants' walking experience. Seventy-eight infants wore an actigraph to measure physical activity during sleep. Parents reported when their infants first walked across a room >10 feet without stopping or falling. Infants in the midst of walking skill acquisition had worse sleep than an age-group estimate. Infants with more walk experience had more temporally sporadic movement during sleep and a steeper hourly increase in physical activity over the course of the night. Ongoing motor skill consolidation changes the characteristics of movement during sleep and may alter sleep state-dependent memory consolidation. We propose a model whereby changes in gross motor activity during night sleep reflect movement-dependent consolidation.



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