Differential Effects of Non-REM and REM Sleep on Memory Consolidation?

  • Sandra Ackermann
  • Björn RaschEmail author
Sleep (M Thorpy, M Billiard, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Sleep


Sleep benefits memory consolidation. Previous theoretical accounts have proposed a differential role of slow-wave sleep (SWS), rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, and stage N2 sleep for different types of memories. For example the dual process hypothesis proposes that SWS is beneficial for declarative memories, whereas REM sleep is important for consolidation of non-declarative, procedural and emotional memories. In fact, numerous recent studies do provide further support for the crucial role of SWS (or non-REM sleep) in declarative memory consolidation. However, recent evidence for the benefit of REM sleep for non-declarative memories is rather scarce. In contrast, several recent studies have related consolidation of procedural memories (and some also emotional memories) to SWS (or non-REM sleep)-dependent consolidation processes. We will review this recent evidence, and propose future research questions to advance our understanding of the role of different sleep stages for memory consolidation.


Slow wave sleep Rapid eye movement sleep Declarative memory Non-declarative memory Emotional memory Procedural memory Memory consolidation Reactivation 



This work was supported by grants from the Swiss National Foundation (SNF) (PP00P1_133685) and the University of Zürich (Clinical Research Priority Programm "Sleep and Health").

Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Sandra Ackermann received a grant from the University of Zurich Clinical research priority project “Sleep and Health”.

Björn Rasch received grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P1_133685) and from the University of Zurich Clinical research priority project “Sleep and Health”.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Division of BiopsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Clinic of Affective Disorders and General PsychiatryPsychiatric University Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Division of Cognitive Biopsychology and Methods, Department of PsychologyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland
  4. 4.Zurich Center of Integrative Sleep Research (ZiS)University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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