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Sleep-dependent memory consolidation


The concept of ‘sleeping on a problem’ is familiar to most of us. But with myriad stages of sleep, forms of memory and processes of memory encoding and consolidation, sorting out how sleep contributes to memory has been anything but straightforward. Nevertheless, converging evidence, from the molecular to the phenomenological, leaves little doubt that offline memory reprocessing during sleep is an important component of how our memories are formed and ultimately shaped.

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Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3: Sleep-dependent consolidation of procedural memories.
Figure 4: Fit of data to exponential model of motor learning.
Figure 5: Complex cognitive procedural learning.
Figure 6: Experience-dependent upregulation of the synaptic plasticity related immediate early gene zif-268 during periods of wakefulness, SWS and REM sleep in the rat.


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This work was supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health.

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Correspondence to Robert Stickgold.

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Stickgold, R. Sleep-dependent memory consolidation. Nature 437, 1272–1278 (2005).

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