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To sleep: perchance to learn

Not only can the sleeping brain perceive sensory information, it can learn from this information, leading to changed behaviors the next day: it can come to associate a sound with a pleasant or unpleasant odor and react, both while still asleep and after waking, with a deeper or shallower breath. But classic ‘sleep learning’ remains just a dream.

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Figure 1: Sleep learning.


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Correspondence to Robert Stickgold.

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Competing interests

R.S. receives research support from the Autism Speaks Foundation and the Mind Science Foundation, and, in the last year, has spoken before and received compensation from the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, the American Epilepsy Society, the Max Plank Institute and the Bial Foundation.

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Stickgold, R. To sleep: perchance to learn. Nat Neurosci 15, 1322–1323 (2012).

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