Sleep to implement an intention

Susanne Diekelmann*, Ines Wilhelm, Ullrich Wagner, Jan Born

*Corresponding author for this work
    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Study Objectives: Sleep supports the consolidation of new memories. However, this effect has mainly been shown for memories of past events. Here we investigated the role of sleep for the implementation of intentions for the future. Design: Subjects were instructed on a plan that had to be executed after a delay of 2 days. After plan instruction, subjects were either allowed to sleep or stayed awake for one night (Exp. 1) or had a 3-h sleep period either during the early night (SWS-rich sleep) or late night (REM-rich sleep; Exp. 2). In both experiments, retesting took place 2 days later after one recovery night. Setting: Sleep laboratory. Patients or Participants: A total of 56 healthy young adults participated in the study. Interventions: N/A. Measurements and Results: All of the subjects who were allowed to sleep after plan instruction executed the intention 2 days later, whereas only 61% of wake subjects did so (P = 0.004; Exp. 1). Also after early SWS-rich sleep all of the subjects remembered to execute the intention, but only 55% did so after late REM-rich sleep (P = 0.015; Exp. 2). Conclusions: Sleep, especially SWS, plays an important role for the successful implementation of delayed intentions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)149-153
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2013


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