The contribution of sleep to hippocampus-dependent memory consolidation

Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Oct;11(10):442-50. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2007.09.001. Epub 2007 Oct 1.


There is now compelling evidence that sleep promotes the long-term consolidation of declarative and procedural memories. Behavioral studies suggest that sleep preferentially consolidates explicit aspects of these memories, which during encoding are possibly associated with activation in prefrontal-hippocampal circuitry. Hippocampus-dependent declarative memory benefits particularly from slow-wave sleep (SWS), whereas rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep seems to benefit procedural aspects of memory. Consolidation of hippocampus-dependent memories relies on a dialog between the neocortex and hippocampus. Crucial features of this dialog are the neuronal reactivation of new memories in the hippocampus during SWS, which stimulates the redistribution of memory representations to neocortical networks; and the neocortical slow (<1Hz) oscillation that synchronizes hippocampal-to-neocortical information transfer to activity in other brain structures.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain Chemistry
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*