Electroencephalographically (EEG) recorded slow wave activity (SWA, 1-4.5Hz), reflecting the depth of sleep, is suggested to play a crucial role in synaptic plasticity. Mapping of SWA by means of high-density EEG reveals that cortical regions showing signs of maturational changes (structural and behavioral) during childhood and adolescence exhibit more SWA. Moreover, the maturation of specific skills is predicted by the topographical distribution of SWA. Thus, SWA topography may serve as a promising neuroimaging tool with prognostic potential. Finally, our data suggest that deep sleep SWA in humans is involved in cortical development that optimizes performance.