Sleep after learning aids memory recall

Learn Mem. 2006 May-Jun;13(3):259-62. doi: 10.1101/lm.132106.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology