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. 2020 Feb 3;12:79-91.
doi: 10.2147/NSS.S223917. eCollection 2020.

Comparing the Effects of Sleep and Rest on Memory Consolidation

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Free PMC article

Comparing the Effects of Sleep and Rest on Memory Consolidation

Matthew A Tucker et al. Nat Sci Sleep. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Introduction: There is ample evidence that overnight sleep and daytime naps benefit memory retention, compared to comparable amounts of active wakefulness. Yet recent evidence also suggests that a period of post-training rest (eg, quiet wakefulness with eyes closed) provides a similar memory benefit compared to wake. However, the relative benefits of sleep vs quiet waking rest on memory remain poorly understood. Here, we assessed the extent to which sleep provides a unique memory benefit, above and beyond that conferred by quiet waking rest.

Methods: In a sample of healthy undergraduate students (N=83), we tested the effect of 30 mins of post-learning sleep, rest, or active wake on concept learning (dot pattern classification) and declarative memory (word pair associates) across a 4-hr daytime training-retest interval.

Results and conclusions: Contrary to our hypotheses, we found no differences in performance between the three conditions for either task. The findings are interpreted with reference to methodological considerations including the length of the experimental interval, the nature of the tasks used, and challenges inherent in creating experimental conditions that can be executed by participants.

Keywords: concept learning; declarative memory; memory consolidation; rest; sleep.

Conflict of interest statement

Dr Erin Wamsley reports grants from NIMH during the conduct of the study and grants from BIAL Foundation, Portugal, outside the submitted work. The authors report no other conflicts of interest in this work.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Experimental Timeline. 00:00 represents study start time. Following EEG hookup, participants completed the PVT and training for the Concept Learning and Paired Associates tasks in randomized order, followed by one of three experimental conditions. Participants then left the laboratory and returned later to complete the second PVT and the Concept Learning and Paired Associates tests. Rest = Resting Wake, Wake = Active Wake.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Dot Pattern Classification Task (Concept Learning). At training, participants are presented a series of dot patterns (exemplars) to classify these into three categories (A, B, and C). Only categories A and B are shown in this example. At test, participants must classify the dot patterns seen during training (Old Exemplars), novel dot patterns not previously seen but belonging to the same three categories (New Exemplars), and the prototypes from which each category was derived, also not previously seen (Prototypes).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Paired Associates Performance. (A) Number correct at the end of the training session;(B) Percent change from training to retest. Bars represent Means±SEMs.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Pattern Classification Performance – Correct Classifications. At retest, participants indicated whether dot patterns belonged to category (A, B, or C). Means±SEMs.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Pattern Classification Performance – Recognition Accuracy. At retest, participants indicated whether the dot patterns had been presented during the training session (Old Exemplars) or not (New Exemplars and Prototypes). (A) Accuracy for Exemplars: Hits/(Hits+FalseAlarms) = Positive Predictive Value. (B) Accuracy for prototypes: Hits/(Hits+Misses) = % Correct. Means±SEMs.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Subjective Experience Questionnaire Data. Participants estimated the percentage of time spent engaged in 15 thought processes during the 30-min experimental phase, 11 of which were collapsed into three categories: Thinking about the past = “Thinking about something that happened earlier today”+ “Thinking about something that happened yesterday to a week ago”+ “Thinking about something that happened last year or several years ago”; Thinking about the future = “Thinking about the remainder of the day” + “Thinking about something that will happen tomorrow to next week” + “Thinking about something that will happen in the next year or several years”; Thinking not related to the past or future = “Thinking about relaxation” + “Thinking about something else” + “Mind was blank” + “Counting the time” + “Focused meditation”.

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