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Prior research shows that contextual reminders can reactivate hippocampal links to previously consolidated memories, rendering them susceptible to being updated with new information which then is reconsolidated. Studies implicate sleep in the reconsolidation of reactivated memories, but it is unknown what role sleep plays in updating of a previously consolidated trace with new information. We tracked participants' sleep during an episodic reconsolidation paradigm, first with actigraphy (Experiment 1) then with polysomnography (Experiment 2). Our paradigm involved two learning sessions and a retrieval session, each separated by 48 hr. We reminded participants of the first learning experience immediately prior to the second, which led them to update the earlier memory with elements of the later experience. In Experiment 1, less sleep after Session 1 and more sleep after Session 2 are associated with increased updating. In Experiment 2, N2 sleep spindles (SSs) after the reminder and new learning are associated with more updating, but primarily when spindle activity after Session 1 is low. Thus, total sleep time and N2 SSs contribute to sleep-dependent updating of episodic memory. This outcome is consistent with other work connecting SS activity to the integration of novel information into existing knowledge structures, extended here with the study of how variations in sleep over successive nights contribute to this process. We discuss some possible roles of spindles in the decontextualization of hippocampal memory over time. Although much work addresses the role of sleep in the consolidation of new memories, this work uniquely addresses the contribution of sleep to the updating of a previously consolidated trace with new information.
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Type of declarative memory, consisting of personal memory in contrast to general knowledge.
A sleep disorder of central nervous system origin characterized by prolonged nocturnal sleep and periods of daytime drowsiness. Affected individuals experience difficulty with awakening in the morning and may have associated sleep drunkenness, automatic behaviors, and memory disturbances. This condition differs from narcolepsy in that daytime sleep periods are longer, there is no association with CATAPLEXY, and the multiple sleep latency onset test does not record sleep-onset rapid eye movement sleep. (From Chokroverty, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, pp319-20; Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 1998 Apr:52(2):125-129)
Periods of sleep manifested by changes in EEG activity and certain behavioral correlates; includes Stage 1: sleep onset, drowsy sleep; Stage 2: light sleep; Stages 3 and 4: delta sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, telencephalic sleep.
Dyssomnias (i.e., insomnias or hypersomnias) associated with dysfunction of internal sleep mechanisms or secondary to a sleep-related medical disorder (e.g., sleep apnea, post-traumatic sleep disorders, etc.). (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p187)
Movements or behaviors associated with sleep, sleep stages, or partial arousals from sleep that may impair sleep maintenance. Parasomnias are generally divided into four groups: arousal disorders, sleep-wake transition disorders, parasomnias of REM sleep, and nonspecific parasomnias. (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p191)
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