How Does Sleep Affect Memory Consolidation? Essays

How Does Sleep Affect Memory Consolidation? Essays

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Is sleep important for memory consolidation? Past research has found that sleep is an important factor in the consolidation of newly acquired memories; however, this consolidation often depends on the specific memory as well as when (e.g., time after learning) sleep occurs. It is important to note that sleep is not constant, throughout the night. Sleep is a cycle that is broken down into rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep (Stickgold, 2005). Non-REM consists of sleep stages 1 through 4, in which stages 3 and 4 constitute what is known as slow-wave sleep (SWS) (Rasch & Born, 2008). Moreover, the construct of memory is often divided into different types of memories, declarative (e.g., facts and events) and non-declarative (e.g., procedural skills) (Stickgold, 2005). When discussing memory consolidation, research has defined it as a progression of memory stabilization that leads memories to become resistant to interference (Stickgold, 2005). Results from past research indicate that memory consolidation occurs through the reactivation of memories during sleep, which enhances and stabilizes the memory (Diekelmann & Born, 2010).
In the research examined, the methods were similar, involving a type of learning or memory task followed by sleeping or not sleeping, and then recalling the information that was learned. Memory consolidation was operationalized and measured in terms of the recall or performance on a task performed either after sleeping or after being awake. Thus, better performance on the task was considered to represent better memory consolidation. Learning words or sequences and then being tested over them is a typical way to examine recall in these studies. More specifically, some com...

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...unction of sleep. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11, 114-126.
Korman, M., Doyon, J., Doljansky, J., Carrier, J., Dagan, Y., & Karni, A. (2007). Daytime sleep condenses the time course of motor memory consolidation. Nature Neuroscience, 10, 1206-1213. doi: 10.1038/nn1959
Rasch, B., & Born, J. (2008). Reactivation and consolidation of memory during sleep. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 188-192. doi: 10.1111/j.14678721.2008.00572.x
Rasch, B., Buchel, C., Gais, S., & Born, J. (2007). Odor cues during slow-wave sleep prompt declarative memory consolidation. Science, 315, 1426–1429.
Stickgold, R. (2005). Sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Nature, 437, 1272-1278. doi: 10.1038/nature04286
Wagner, U., Hallschmid, M., Rasch, B.H., & Born, J. (2006). Brief sleep after learning keeps emotional memories alive for years. Biological Psychiatry, 60, 788–790.

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