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Nat Neurosci. 2009 Apr;12(4):396-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.2206. Epub 2008 Oct 5.

Pharmacological REM sleep suppression paradoxically improves rather than impairs skill memory.

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  • 1University of Lübeck, Department of Neuroendocrinology, Haus 23a, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Lübeck, Germany. rasch@kfg.uni-luebeck.de


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has been considered important for consolidation of memories, particularly of skills. Contrary to expectations, we found that REM sleep suppression by administration of selective serotonin or norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors after training did not impair consolidation of skills or word-pairs in healthy men but rather enhanced gains in finger tapping accuracy together with sleep spindles. Our results indicate that REM sleep as a unitary phenomenon is not required for skill-memory consolidation.

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