Purpose of review
The review summarizes current knowledge about what fMRI
has revealed regarding the neurobehavioral correlates of sleep deprivation
and sleep-dependent memory consolidation
Functional imaging studies of sleep deprivation
have characterized its effects on a number of cognitive domains, the best studied of these being working memory
. There is a growing appreciation that it is important to consider interindividual differences in vulnerability to sleep deprivation
, task and task difficulty when interpreting imaging results. Our understanding of the role of sleep and the dynamic evolution of offline memory consolidation
has benefited greatly from human imaging studies. Both hippocampal-dependent and hippocampal-independent memory
systems have been studied.
Functional imaging studies contrasting sleep-deprived and well-rested brains provide substantial evidence that sleep is highly important for optimal cognitive function and learning. The experimental paradigms developed to date merit evaluation in clinical settings to determine the impact of sleep disruption in sleep disorders.