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

Julien Doyon, Maria Korman, Amélie Morin, Valérie Dostie, Abdallah Hadj Tahar, Habib Benali, Avi Karni, Leslie G. Ungerleider, Julie Carrier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


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. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Memory consolidation
  • Motor learning
  • Motor sequence
  • Passage of daytime
  • Sleep
  • Visuomotor adaptation


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