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Sleep. 2013 Dec 1;36(12):1875-83. doi: 10.5665/sleep.3220.

Rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement sleep contributions in memory consolidation and resistance to retroactive interference for verbal material.

Author information

1
UR2NF - Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging Research Group at CRCN - Center for Research in Cognition and Neurosciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and UNI - ULB Neurosciences Institute; Brussels, Belgium ; Sleep Laboratory & Unit for Chronobiology U78, Brugmann University Hospital - Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B./V.U.B.), Brussels, Belgium.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

To test the hypothesis that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep contributes to the consolidation of new memories, whereas non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep contributes to the prevention of retroactive interference.

DESIGN:

Randomized, crossover study.

SETTING:

Two sessions of either a morning nap or wakefulness.

PARTICIPANTS:

Twenty-five healthy young adults.

INTERVENTIONS:

Declarative learning of word pairs followed by a nap or a wake interval, then learning of interfering word pairs and delayed recall of list A.

MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS:

After a restricted night (24:00-06:00), participants learned a list of word pairs (list A). They were then required to either take a nap or stay awake during 45 min, after which they learned a second list of word pairs (list B) and then had to recall list A. Fifty percent of word pairs in list B shared the first word with list A, resulting in interference. Ten subjects exhibited REM sleep whereas 13 subjects exhibited NREM stage 3 (N3) sleep. An interference effect was observed in the nap but not in the wake condition. In post-learning naps, N3 sleep was associated with a reduced interference effect, which was not the case for REM sleep. Moreover, participants exhibiting N3 sleep in the post-learning nap condition also showed a reduced interference effect in the wake condition, suggesting a higher protection ability against interference.

CONCLUSION:

Our results partly support the hypothesis that non-rapid eye movement sleep contributes in protecting novel memories against interference. However, rapid eye movement sleep-related consolidation is not evidenced.

KEYWORDS:

Declarative learning; memory consolidation; nap; retroactive interference; sleep stages

PMID:
24293762
PMCID:
PMC3825437
DOI:
10.5665/sleep.3220
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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