Many young females take exogenous hormones as oral contraceptive (OC), a condition rarely controlled for in studies on sleep and memory consolidation even though sex hormones influence consolidation. This study investigated the effects of OCs on sleep-related consolidation of a motor and declarative task, utilizing a daytime nap protocol. Fifteen healthy, young females taking OCs came to the sleep lab for three different conditions: nap with previous learning, wake with previous learning and nap without learning. They underwent each condition twice, once during the "pill-active" weeks and once during the "pill-free" week, resulting in 6 visits. In all conditions, participants showed a significant off-line consolidation effect, independent of pill week or nap/wake condition. There were no significant differences in sleep stage duration, spindle activity or spectral EEG frequency bands between naps with or without the learning condition. The present data showed a significant off-line enhancement in memory irrespective of potential beneficial effects of a nap. In comparison to previous studies, this may suggest that the use of OCs may enhance off-line memory consolidation in motor and verbal tasks per se. These results stress the importance to control for the use of OCs in studies focusing on memory performance.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2014|