Continuity of the processing of declarative knowledge during human sleep: evidence from interrelated contents of mental sleep experiences

Neurosci Lett. 2003 May 22;342(3):147-50. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(03)00236-2.


The positive influence of sleep on memory may partly depend on the processing which transforms items of declarative knowledge into contents of mental sleep experience (MSE). This view implies that the consolidation level should be more enhanced for those items which have been repeatedly processed and transformed into identical or very similar (so-called interrelated) contents of distinct MSEs in the same night. We examined here the occurrence of interrelated contents in the MSEs reported after an awakening provoked in stage 2 at sleep onset and the spontaneous awakening in the morning. Interrelated contents resulted much more frequently than the chance occurrence of contents with the same semantic features, regardless of the sleep stage in which morning awakening occurred. The accessibility of given items for transformation into MSE contents over the night makes it plausible that they are reprocessed, and thus further consolidated, during various stages and cycles of sleep.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dreams*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electromyography / instrumentation
  • Electrooculography
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Semantics
  • Sleep, REM*
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Wakefulness / physiology