Several studies have shown that sleep contributes to the successful maintenance of previously encoded information. This research has focused exclusively on memory for studied events, as opposed to false memories. Here we report three experiments showing that sleep reduces false memories in the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) memory illusion. False recognition of nonstudied words was reduced after sleep, relative to an equal retention interval of wakefulness, with no change in correct recognition of studied words. These experiments are the first to show that false memories can be reduced following sleep, and they extend the benefits of sleep to include increased accuracy of episodic memory.
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