Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: It has been debated whether different stages in the human sleep cycle preferentially mediate the consolidation of explicit and implicit memories, or whether all of the stages in succession are necessary for optimal consolidation. Here we investigated whether the selective deprivation of slow wave sleep (SWS) or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep over an entire night would have a specific effect on consolidation in explicit and implicit memory tasks. METHOD: Participants completed a set of explicit and implicit memory tasks at night, prior to sleep. They had 1 control night of undisturbed sleep and 2 experimental nights, during which either SWS or REM sleep was selectively deprived across the entire night (sleep conditions counterbalanced across participants). Polysomnography recordings quantified precisely the amount of SWS and REM sleep that occurred during each of the sleep conditions, and spindle counts were recorded. In the morning, participants completed the experimental tasks in the same sequence as the night before. RESULTS: SWS deprivation disrupted the consolidation of explicit memories for visuospatial information (ηp2 = .23), and both SWS (ηp2 = .53) and REM sleep (ηp2 = .52) deprivation adversely affected explicit verbal recall. Neither SWS nor REM sleep deprivation affected aspects of short-term or working memory, and did not affect measures of verbal implicit memory. Spindle counts did not correlate significantly with memory performance. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate the importance of measuring the sleep cycles throughout the entire night, and the contribution of both SWS and REM sleep to memory consolidation. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





931 - 945


Adult, Female, Humans, Male, Memory Consolidation, Neuropsychological Tests, Polysomnography, Sleep Deprivation, Sleep Stages, Sleep, REM, Young Adult