The role of sleep in learning and memory.
Sleep has been implicated in the plastic cerebral changes that underlie learning and memory. Indications that sleep participates in the consolidation of fresh memory traces come from a wide range of experimental observations. At the network level, reactivations during sleep of neuronal assemblies recently challenged by new environmental circumstances have been reported in different experimental designs. These neuronal assemblies are proposed to be involved in the processing of memory traces during sleep. However, despite this rapidly growing body of experimental data, evidence for the influence of sleep discharge patterns on memory traces remains fragmentary. The underlying role of sleep in learning and memory has yet to be precisely characterized.