Sleep disturbances hurt memory consolidation

Sleep disturbance negatively impacts the memory consolidation and enhancement that usually occurs with a good night's sleep, according to a study published Mar. 28 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

It is becoming widely accepted that sleep is crucial for cementing long-term memory, so in this new study, the researchers went a step further to investigate whether these beneficial effects only arise after some minimum amount of continuous sleep. The authors, led by Ina Djonlagic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that patients with , which leads to sleep disturbances, showed significantly lower overnight improvement and plateau performance for a newly learned motor task than seen for the control group. Both groups had comparable initial learning performance during the training phase, suggesting that the overnight sleep disturbance was likely related to the subsequent poorer performance.

"Optimal overnight in humans requires a certain amount of sleep continuity independent of the total amount of sleep" conclude the authors.

More information: Djonlagic I, Saboisky J, Carusona A, Stickgold R, Malhotra A (2012) Increased Sleep Fragmentation Leads to Impaired Off-Line Consolidation of Motor Memories in Humans. PLoS ONE 7(3): e34106. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034106

Related Stories

People learn while they sleep, study suggests

date Sep 27, 2011

People may be learning while they're sleeping – an unconscious form of memory that is still not well understood, according to a study by Michigan State University researchers.

Night shift nurses more likely to have poor sleep habits

date Jun 11, 2007

Nurses who work the night shift are more likely to have poor sleep habits, a practice that can increase the likelihood of committing serious errors that can put the safety of themselves as well as their patients at risk, ...

Interrupted sleep impairs memory in mice

date Jul 25, 2011

With the novel use of a technique that uses light to control brain cells, Stanford University researchers have shown that fragmented sleep causes memory impairment in mice.

Recommended for you

New quality measures approved for childhood sleep apnea

date Mar 13, 2015

A work group of physicians from leading academic medical centers across the country, including NYU Langone Medical Center, has developed new quality measures for the detection and treatment of childhood obstructive ...

Sleep apnea is common in women with pregnancy diabetes

date Mar 07, 2015

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is prevalent in obese, pregnant Asian women with gestational diabetes, even when their diabetes is controlled by diet, a new study from Thailand finds. Study results, which also connect the severity ...

Sleep problems may impact bone health

date Feb 03, 2015

The daily rhythm of bone turnover is likely important for normal bone health, and recent research suggests that sleep apnea may be an unrecognized cause of some cases of osteoporosis. Sleep apnea's effects on sleep duration ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.