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Sleep supports memory consolidation as well as next-day learning. The influential "Active Systems" account of offline consolidation suggests that sleep-associated memory processing paves the way for new learning, but empirical evidence in support of this idea is scarce. Using a within-subjects (n = 30), crossover design, we assessed behavioral and electrophysiological indices of episodic encoding after a night of sleep or total sleep deprivation in healthy adults (aged 18-25 years) and investigated whether behavioral performance was predicted by the overnight consolidation of episodic associations from the previous day. Sleep supported memory consolidation and next-day learning as compared to sleep deprivation. However, the magnitude of this sleep-associated consolidation benefit did not significantly predict the ability to form novel memories after sleep. Interestingly, sleep deprivation prompted a qualitative change in the neural signature of encoding: Whereas 12-20 Hz beta desynchronization-an established marker of successful encoding-was observed after sleep, sleep deprivation disrupted beta desynchrony during successful learning. Taken together, these findings suggest that effective learning depends on sleep but not necessarily on sleep-associated consolidation.

Original publication




Journal article


Cereb Cortex

Publication Date





1610 - 1625


beta desynchronization, consolidation, learning, memory, sleep deprivation, Adolescent, Adult, Humans, Young Adult, Learning, Memory, Memory Consolidation, Sleep, Sleep Deprivation, Cross-Over Studies