Hippocampal cellular and molecular processes critical for memory consolidation are affected by the amount and quality of sleep attained. Questions remain with regard to how sleep enhances memory, what parameters of sleep after learning are optimal for memory consolidation, and what underlying hippocampal molecular players are targeted by sleep deprivation to impair memory consolidation and plasticity. In this review, we address these topics with a focus on the detrimental effects of post-learning sleep deprivation on memory consolidation. Obtaining adequate sleep is challenging in a society that values "work around the clock." Therefore, the development of interventions to combat the negative cognitive effects of sleep deprivation is key. However, there are a limited number of therapeutics that are able to enhance cognition in the face of insufficient sleep. The identification of molecular pathways implicated in the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation on memory could potentially yield new targets for the development of more effective drugs. © 2013, Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
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