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Ann Rehabil Med. 2012 Apr;36(2):226-32. doi: 10.5535/arm.2012.36.2.226. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Effects of night sleep on motor learning using transcranial magnetic stimulation.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon 400-711, Korea.



To investigate the effects of night sleep on motor cortical excitability with TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and finger tapping performance.


Eight volunteers were enrolled to investigate the effects of day wake or night sleep on motor learning and finger performance. Each subject underwent a finger tapping task over a 12 hour period, which was employed to evaluate the motor cortical excitability affected by motor learning. Starting at 9:00 am for the day wake cycle and restarting at 9:00 pm for the night sleep cycle. The finger tapping task was the index finger of the non-dominant hand with the Hangul word personal computer (PC) training program. The data was assessed by comparing the changes observed with the cortical excitability and finger tapping performance tests between the day wake and night sleep after equivalent amounts of training.


The results showed that in paired-pulse techniques, there was a significant decrease of intracortical inhibition (ICI) in the morning following the night sleep cycle (p<0.05), but no significant change was seen in the ICI in the evening for the day wake cycle. In addition a significant decrease of the ICI was observed in comparison to the morning following the night sleep cycle and the evening following the day wake cycle (p<0.05). The 140% recruitment curve (RC) and accuracy of the finger tapping performance demonstrated a significant improvement for both cycles (p<0.05).


Through this study, we observed that the Hangul typing practice requires both explicit and implicit skill learning. And also the off-line learning during a night of sleep may be affected by an inhibitory neurotransmitter related synaptic plasticity and by the time dependent learning with recruitments of remote or less excitable motor neurons in the primary motor cortex.


Hangul typing practice; Night sleep; Off-line learning; Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

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