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Learn Mem. 2006 May-Jun;13(3):259-62.

Sleep after learning aids memory recall.

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Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, 23538 Lübeck, Germany.


In recent years, the effect of sleep on memory consolidation has received considerable attention. In humans, these studies concentrated mainly on procedural types of memory, which are considered to be hippocampus-independent. Here, we show that sleep also has a persisting effect on hippocampus-dependent declarative memory. In two experiments, we examined high school students' ability to remember vocabulary. We show that declarative memory is enhanced when sleep follows within a few hours of learning, independent of time of day, and with equal amounts of interference during retention intervals. Sleep deprivation has a detrimental effect on memory, which was significant after a night of recovery sleep. Thus, fatigue accumulating during wake intervals could be ruled out as a confound.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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