Sleep-dependent memory consolidation in patients with sleep disorders

Carlo Cipolli, Michela Mazzetti, Giuseppe Plazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sleep can improve the off-line memory consolidation of new items of declarative and non-declarative information in healthy subjects, whereas acute sleep loss, as well as sleep restriction and fragmentation, impair consolidation. This suggests that, by modifying the amount and/or architecture of sleep, chronic sleep disorders may also lead to a lower gain in off-line consolidation, which in turn may be responsible for the varying levels of impaired performance at memory tasks usually observed in sleep-disordered patients.The experimental studies conducted to date have shown specific impairments of sleep-dependent consolidation overall for verbal and visual declarative information in patients with primary insomnia, for verbal declarative information in patients with obstructive sleep apnoeas, and for visual procedural skills in patients with narcolepsy-cataplexy.These findings corroborate the hypothesis that impaired consolidation is a consequence of the chronically altered organization of sleep. Moreover, they raise several novel questions as to: a) the reversibility of consolidation impairment in the case of effective treatment, b) the possible negative influence of altered prior sleep also on the encoding of new information, and c) the relationships between altered sleep and memory impairment in patients with other (medical, psychiatric or neurological) diseases associated with quantitative and/or qualitative changes of sleep architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Altered sleep
  • Chronic sleep disorders
  • Declarative and non-declarative information
  • Encoding and recall deficits
  • Memory
  • Sleep-dependent consolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep-dependent memory consolidation in patients with sleep disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this