Sleep after learning supports memory consolidation. However, long-lasting memory effects of sleep have not yet been investigated. Postlearning sleep may be particularly involved in the long-term retention of emotional memories and could thereby contribute to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disease thought to result from overconsolidation of traumatic memories.
Subjects (healthy men) who had learned neutral and emotional texts immediately before sleeping or remaining awake for the subsequent 3 hours were recontacted after 4 years for long-term memory assessment (forced-choice recognition test).
Sleep following learning compared with wakefulness enhanced memory for emotional texts after 4 years (p = .001). No such enhancement was observed for neutral texts (p = .571).
Brief periods of sleep immediately following learning cause preservation of emotional memories over several years. Sleep deprivation in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events could be a promising therapeutic measure to prevent PTSD.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Night-time plasma cortisol secretion is associated with specific sleep stages.Biol Psychiatry. 1986; 21: 1415-1424
- Sex-related influences on the neurobiology of emotionally influenced memory.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003; 985: 163-173
- Mechanisms of emotional arousal and lasting declarative memory.Trends Neurosci. 1998; 21: 294-299
- Sleep and trauma: An overview.Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2005; 26: 721-738
- Psychobiologic mechanisms of posttraumatic stress disorder.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1993; 50: 295-305
- Remembering one year later: Role of the amygdala and the medial temporal lobe memory system in retrieving emotional memories.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005; 102: 2626-2631
- Sleep enhances explicit recollection in recognition memory.Learn Mem. 2005; 12: 44-51
- Declarative memory consolidation: Mechanisms acting during human sleep.Learn Mem. 2004; 11: 679-685
- Cognitive and neural mechanisms of emotional memory.Trends Cogn Sci. 2001; 5: 394-400
- Individual differences in emotion processing.Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2004; 14: 233-238
- A meta-analytic review of the effects of acute cortisol administration on human memory.Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2005; 30: 771-784
- The role of sleep in learning and memory.Science. 2001; 294: 1048-1052
- Memory traces unbound.Trends Neurosci. 2003; 26: 65-72
- Memory reactivation and consolidation during sleep: From cellular mechanisms to human performance.Prog Brain Res. 2002; 138: 143-166
- Post-traumatic stress disorder, hormones, and memory.Biol Psychiatry. 1989; 26: 221-223
- Effects of early and late nocturnal sleep on declarative and procedural memory.J Cogn Neurosci. 1997; 9: 534-547
- Memory consolidation in human sleep depends on inhibition of glucocorticoid release.Neuroreport. 1999; 10: 2741-2747
- Reverberation, storage, and postsynaptic propagation of memories during sleep.Learn Mem. 2004; 11: 686-696
- Human recognition memory: A cognitive neuroscience perspective.Trends Cogn Sci. 2003; 7: 313-319
- The effect of stress doses of hydrocortisone during septic shock on posttraumatic stress disorder in survivors.Biol Psychiatry. 2001; 50: 978-985
- Stress doses of hydrocortisone, traumatic memories, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in patients after cardiac surgery: A randomized study.Biol Psychiatry. 2004; 55: 627-633
- Gedächtnis und Emotion: Zum Einfluss von Emotionen auf das Behalten von Texten [Memory and Emotion: On the Influence of Emotions on Text Retention]. Psychologie Verlags Union, Munich1994
- Sleep states and memory processes.Behav Brain Res. 1995; 69: 137-145
- Sleep states and memory processes in humans: Procedural versus declarative memory systems.Sleep Med Rev. 2001; 5: 491-506
- Sleep-dependent memory consolidation.Nature. 2005; 437: 1272-1278
- Memory consolidation and reconsolidation: What is the role of sleep?.Trends Neurosci. 2005; 28: 408-415
- Effects of cortisol suppression on sleep-associated consolidation of neutral and emotional memory.Biol Psychiatry. 2005; 58: 885-893
- Emotional memory formation is enhanced across sleep intervals with high amounts of rapid eye movement sleep.Learn Mem. 2001; 8: 112-119
- Sleep inspires insight.Nature. 2004; 427: 352-355
- Dissociable stages of human memory consolidation and reconsolidation.Nature. 2003; 425: 616-620
- Sleep-dependent learning and memory consolidation.Neuron. 2004; 44: 121-133
Published online: June 28, 2006
Accepted: March 16, 2006
Received in revised form: March 13, 2006
Received: September 21, 2005
© 2006 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.