Sleep and Memory 

This module will be a comprehensive introduction to sleep, memory and the links between them. While sleep has many proposed functions, one of the most established is its role in memory and brain plasticity generally. However, understanding this link is difficult because these are two complex, multi-faceted and active processes. Not only is it likely that different types of memory (episodic, semantic, procedural) require sleep to a greater or lesser extent, but the aspects of sleep that are important may also be different The module will start with an introduction to relevant issues in sleep, including common methods for its classification, and techniques used to understand the neurophysiological basis of this classification. The evolutionary purpose of sleep will be discussed, before moving on to links between sleep and cognition broadly. The focus will then shift more specifically towards memory, providing an overview of cognitive memory theory and the experimental approaches used to study remembering and forgetting, as well as the neural mechanisms underlying memory. Overall, we will aim to provide students with a solid understanding of what is currently known about the importance of sleep for memory, as well as a good grounding in each of these topics individually. Module content will be covered though lectures and discussion sessions. 

By the end of the module you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of sleep and its different neurophysiological, behavioural and psychological aspects.
  • Understand and evaluate the major neurocognitive concepts in memory and the experimental approaches used to investigate memory.
  • Critically evaluate the theoretical and research-based knowledge relating to both past and current understanding of the relationship between sleep and memory.
  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of current topics and problems in research into the link between sleep and memory.
  • Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge on the topics of sleep and memory.
  • Develop discussion and critical evaluation skills.