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 [email protected]


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.