Sleep, dreams, and memory consolidation: The role of the stress hormone cortisol

Jessica D. Payne, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

We discuss the relationship between sleep, dreams, and memory, proposing that the content of dreams reflects aspects of memory consolidation taking place during the different stages of sleep. Although we acknowledge the likely involvement of various neuromodulators in these phenomena, we focus on the hormone cortisol, which is known to exert influence on many of the brain systems involved in memory. The concentration of cortisol escalates over the course of the night's sleep, in ways that we propose can help explain the changing nature of dreams across the sleep cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-678
Number of pages8
JournalLearning and Memory
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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