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Clin Sports Med. 2005 Apr;24(2):301-17, ix.

It's practice, with sleep, that makes perfect: implications of sleep-dependent learning and plasticity for skill performance.

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Sleep and Neuroimaging, Center for Sleep and Cognition, Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Although there is no consensus regarding the functions of sleep, one exciting hypothesis is that sleep contributes importantly to learning and memory. Over the last decade, several studies have provided substantive evidence supporting the role of sleep in memory processing. This article focuses on sleep-dependent learning and brain plasticity in humans, specifically in the development of skill performance that is the foundation of many sports actions. The different forms and stages of human memory are discussed, then evidence of sleep-dependent skill learning and associated sleep-dependent brain plasticity is described. In conclusion, a consideration of the fundamental importance of sleep in real-life skill learning is provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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