A Role for Neuronal Oscillations of Sleep in Memory and Cognition



This chapter gives an overview on relevant topics pertaining to cognition, in particular to memory consolidation during sleep. First, a brief overview on the extent of research on this topic in several nonmammalian species is given. Then neuronal oscillations are described with a main focus on sleep spindles and slow oscillations, and their occurrence in human scalp EEG. In particular, the relevance of discriminating between slow and fast spindle oscillations measured in different sleep states is underscored. Findings on memory consolidation based on the ability to induce neuronal oscillations of sleep without significant perturbation of the subsequent sleep architecture are reported next. Studies highlighting essential aspects of sleep’s effect on memory are then presented together with a discussion on postexperience neuronal oscillations during sleep. A summary puts the interdependence of neuronal oscillations and cognitive processes during sleep into a broader biological perspective.


Sleep Memory Slow oscillation Sleep spindles Prefrontal cortex 



This work was supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)/NSF, grant01GQ1706, and DFG (CRC/TR654, part A6). The author wishes to thank colleagues Sonja Binder, Sonat Aksamaz, and Dominc Aumann for comments on this or a previous version of the manuscript, as well as Abdullah-al-kamran Ripon for technical assistance.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Brain, Behavior and MetabolismInstitute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of LübeckLübeckGermany

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