Age-related differences in sleep-based memory consolidation: A meta-analysis

Wen Jun Gui, Hui Jie Li, Yu Hua Guo, Peng Peng, Xu Lei, Jing Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A period of post-learning sleep benefits memory consolidation compared with an equal-length wake interval. However, whether this sleep-based memory consolidation changes as a function of age remains controversial. Here we report a meta-analysis that investigates the age differences in the sleep-based memory consolidation in two types of memory: declarative memory and procedural memory. The meta-analysis included 22 comparisons of the performance between young adults (N =640) and older adults (N =529) on behavioral tasks measuring sleep-based memory consolidation. Our results showed a significant overall sleep-based beneficial effect in young adults but not in older adults. However, further analyses suggested that the age differences were mainly manifested in sleep-based declarative memory consolidation but not in procedural memory consolidation. We discussed the possible underlying mechanisms for the age-related degradation in sleep-based memory consolidation. Further research is needed to determine the crucial components for sleep-related memory consolidation in older adults such as age-related changes in neurobiological and cardiovascular functions, which may play an important role in this context and have the potential to delineate the interrelationships between age-related changes in sleep and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-55
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Aging
  • Declarative memory
  • Meta-analysis
  • Procedural memory
  • Sleep-based memory consolidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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