Daytime sleep condenses the time course of motor memory consolidation

Nat Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1206-13. doi: 10.1038/nn1959. Epub 2007 Aug 12.


Two behavioral phenomena characterize human motor memory consolidation: diminishing susceptibility to interference by a subsequent experience and the emergence of delayed, offline gains in performance. A recent model proposes that the sleep-independent reduction in interference is followed by the sleep-dependent expression of offline gains. Here, using the finger-opposition sequence-learning task, we show that an interference experienced at 2 h, but not 8 h, following the initial training prevented the expression of delayed gains at 24 h post-training. However, a 90-min nap, immediately post-training, markedly reduced the susceptibility to interference, with robust delayed gains expressed overnight, despite interference at 2 h post-training. With no interference, a nap resulted in much earlier expression of delayed gains, within 8 h post-training. These results suggest that the evolution of robustness to interference and the evolution of delayed gains can coincide immediately post-training and that both effects reflect sleep-sensitive processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Wakefulness / physiology