Sleep is an intrinsic condition of life. Living beings (mammals, invertebrates, and even plants) cannot live without sleeping. But why we do sleep remains an elusive question. Nevertheless, in recent years, compelling evidence has shown that sleep plays a key role in memory processing. Here, I will present psychophysiological and behavioral studies showing how during sleep newly acquired memory traces are processed and integrated with pre-existing information, to become stable and less susceptible to interference. I will also present new behavioral approaches to studying sleep and memory in a more ecological fashion. In the last part of the talk, I will introduce newly developed approaches to enhance memory processes by directly modulating sleep physiology via sensory stimulation and I will discuss how these approaches can be translated into daily-world applications.
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