Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Sleep is for rest, waking consciousness is for learning and memory – of any kind

Robert P. Vertes a1
a1 Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431


Although considerable attention has been paid to the possible involvement of sleep in memory processing, there is no substantial evidence for it. Walker describes a phenomenon of consolidation-based enhancement (CBE), whereby performance on select procedural tasks improves with overnight sleep; that is, without additional practice on the tasks. CBE, however, appears restricted to a few tasks, and even with these tasks CBE is not confined to sleep but also occurs during wakefulness. Sleep serves no unique role in this process. At best, CBE is a slow, time-dependent process of consolidation that begins with task acquisition in waking and can under some circumstances extend to sleep.