PerspectiveNeuroscience

Memories—getting wired during sleep

Science  06 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6188, pp. 1087-1088
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255649

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Summary

The idea that sleep enhances memory has a long history, but only in the last 20 years has it gained solid empirical support. Many studies have shown that sleep deprivation impairs skill learning (1). Moreover, learning enhances oscillations in the brain's electrical activity known as “slow waves” which occur during deeper stages of sleep. The strength of these oscillations also predicts future memory-based performance (2). But how exactly does sleep benefit memory? On page 1173 of this issue, Yang et al. (3) show that sleep influences changes in neuronal connectivity after learning.