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Nat Neurosci. 2003 Jul;6(7):697-8.

Sleep-dependent learning: a nap is as good as a night.

Author information

1
Psychology Department, Harvard University, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA. smednick@post.harvard.edu

Abstract

The learning of perceptual skills has been shown in some cases to depend on the plasticity of the visual cortex and to require post-training nocturnal sleep. We now report that sleep-dependent learning of a texture discrimination task can be accomplished in humans by brief (60- 90 min) naps containing both slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This nap-dependent learning closely resembled that previously reported for an 8-h night of sleep in terms of magnitude, sleep-stage dependency and retinotopic specificity, and it was additive to subsequent sleep-dependent improvement, such that performance over 24 h showed as much learning as is normally seen after twice that length of time. Thus, from the perspective of behavioral improvement, a nap is as good as a night of sleep for learning on this perceptual task.

PMID:
12819785
DOI:
10.1038/nn1078
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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