Monday, May 4, 2009

Sleep to consolidate a new motor pattern

I am in the middle of pulling a bunch of data for a study that is due ASAP, so this one today will be short but it is a really cool study.

There are more data now showing that sleep is critical for the motor learning process. So if you want to learn a new task, skill or even a new lift in the gym; getting a nap or sleep should help "burn in" (consolidate) that new pattern!

This study discusses that the type of task and when you sleep may also be important for greater performance!

Contribution of night and day sleep vs. simple passage of time to the consolidation of motor sequence and visuomotor adaptation learning.

Doyon J, Korman M, Morin A, Dostie V, Hadj Tahar A, Benali H, Karni A, Ungerleider LG, Carrier J. Functional Neuroimaging Unit, University of Montreal Geriatric Institute, 4565 Queen-Mary, Montreal, QC H3W 1W5, Canada.

There is increasing evidence supporting the notion that the contribution of sleep to consolidation of motor skills depends on the nature of the task used in practice. We compared the role of three post-training conditions in the expression of delayed gains on two different motor skill learning tasks: finger tapping sequence learning (FTSL) and visuomotor adaptation (VMA). Subjects in the DaySleep and ImmDaySleep conditions were trained in the morning and at noon, respectively, afforded a 90-min nap early in the afternoon and were re-tested 12 h post-training. In the NightSleep condition, subjects were trained in the evening on either of the two learning paradigms and re-tested 12 h later following sleep, while subjects in the NoSleep condition underwent their training session in the morning and were re-tested 12 h later without any intervening sleep.

The results of the FTSL task revealed that post-training sleep (day-time nap or night-time sleep) significantly promoted the expression of delayed gains at 12 h post-training, especially if sleep was afforded immediately after training. In the VMA task, however, there were no significant differences in the gains expressed at 12 h post-training in the three conditions.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that "off-line" performance gains reflecting consolidation processes in the FTSL task benefit from sleep, even a short nap, while the simple passage of time is as effective as time in sleep for consolidation of VMA to occur. They also imply that procedural memory consolidation processes differ depending on the nature of task demands.