Differential Effects of Non-REM and REM Sleep on Memory Consolidation?

Ackermann, Sandra ; Rasch, Björn

In: Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 2014, vol. 14, no. 2, p. 1-10

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    Sleep benefits memory consolidation. Previous theoretical accounts have proposed a differential role of slow-wave sleep (SWS), rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, and stage N2 sleep for different types of memories. For example the dual process hypothesis proposes that SWS is beneficial for declarative memories, whereas REM sleep is important for consolidation of non-declarative, procedural and emotional memories. In fact, numerous recent studies do provide further support for the crucial role of SWS (or non-REM sleep) in declarative memory consolidation. However, recent evidence for the benefit of REM sleep for non-declarative memories is rather scarce. In contrast, several recent studies have related consolidation of procedural memories (and some also emotional memories) to SWS (or non-REM sleep)-dependent consolidation processes. We will review this recent evidence, and propose future research questions to advance our understanding of the role of different sleep stages for memory consolidation.