The role of sleep in human declarative memory consolidation

Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2015:25:269-306. doi: 10.1007/7854_2014_341.


Through a variety of methods, researchers have begun unraveling the mystery of why humans spend one-third of their lives asleep. Though sleep likely serves multiple functions, it has become clear that the sleeping brain offers an ideal environment for solidifying newly learned information in the brain. Sleep , which comprises a complex collection of brain states, supports the consolidation of many different types of information. It not only promotes learning and memory stabilization, but also memory reorganization that can lead to various forms of insightful behavior. As this chapter will describe, research provides ample support for these crucial cognitive functions of sleep . Focusing on the declarative memory system in humans, we review the literature regarding the benefits of sleep for both neutral and emotionally salient declarative memory. Finally, we discuss the literature regarding the impact of sleep on emotion regulation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*