[Sleep and episodic memory: a review of the literature in young healthy subjects and potential links between sleep changes and memory impairment observed during aging and Alzheimer's disease]

Rev Neurol (Paris). 2010 Nov;166(11):873-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2010.03.021. Epub 2010 May 5.
[Article in French]


Introduction: A large body of evidence indicates that sleep favors memory consolidation.

State of the art: This process would occur, mainly during slow-wave sleep, by means of a dialogue between the hippocampus and neocortical areas. Low levels of acetylcholine and cortisol are also needed to favor the transfer of memory traces toward the neocortex, where they will be stored for the long-term.

Perspectives: The aim of this article is, first, to give an overview of studies conducted in young healthy subjects and underpinning the hypothesis that sleep is involved in memory consolidation. Then, we will investigate the potential links between changes in sleep architecture and episodic memory impairment in both aging and Alzheimer's disease. Finally, we will see how these results can affect clinical practice.

Conclusion: Sleep-dependent memory consolidation is impaired both in aging and Alzheimer's disease. These findings suggest the importance of taking into account sleep when assessing memory function in patients.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Hippocampus / growth & development
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neocortex / growth & development
  • Neocortex / physiology
  • Neocortex / physiopathology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology