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Neuroscientist. 2006 Dec;12(6):477-88.

The role of sleep in memory consolidation and brain plasticity: dream or reality?

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Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6074, USA.


The notion that a good night of sleep improves memory is widely accepted by the general public. Among sleep scientists, however, the idea has been hotly debated for decades. In this review, the authors consider current evidence for and against the hypothesis that sleep facilitates memory consolidation and promotes plastic changes in the brain. They find that despite a steady accumulation of positive findings over the past decade, the precise role of sleep in memory and brain plasticity remains elusive. This impasse may be resolved by more integrated approaches that combine behavioral and neurophysiological measurements in well-described in vivo models of synaptic plasticity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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