Sleep disturbance negatively impacts the memory consolidation and enhancement that usually occurs with a good night's sleep, according to a study published Mar. 28 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.
It is becoming widely accepted that sleep is crucial for cementing long-term memory, so in this new study, the researchers went a step further to investigate whether these beneficial effects only arise after some minimum amount of continuous sleep. The authors, led by Ina Djonlagic at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, found that patients with sleep apnea, which leads to sleep disturbances, showed significantly lower overnight improvement and plateau performance for a newly learned motor task than seen for the control group. Both groups had comparable initial learning performance during the training phase, suggesting that the overnight sleep disturbance was likely related to the subsequent poorer performance.
"Optimal overnight memory consolidation in humans requires a certain amount of sleep continuity independent of the total amount of sleep" conclude the authors.
Citation: Djonlagic I, Saboisky J, Carusona A, Stickgold R, Malhotra A (2012) Increased Sleep Fragmentation Leads to Impaired Off-Line Consolidation of Motor Memories in Humans. PLoS ONE 7(3): e34106. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034106
Financial Disclosure: This work was supported by K23 HL103850-01, American Board of Sleep Medicine Junior Faculty Research Award # 54-JF-1-10, P01 HL 095491, K24 HL 093218, R01 HL090897, AHA 0840159N, R01 HL085188. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLoS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLoS. PLoS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.
About PLoS ONE
PLoS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLoS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.
All works published in PLoS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately available--to read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise use--without cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLoS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the everyONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.