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Sleep deprivation and memory: Meta-analytic reviews of studies on sleep deprivation before and after learning.
Psychological Bulletin  (IF23.027),  Pub Date : 2022-03-03, DOI: 10.1037/bul0000348
Chloe R. Newbury, Rebecca Crowley, Kathleen Rastle, Jakke Tamminen

Research suggests that sleep deprivation both before and after encoding has a detrimental effect on memory for newly learned material. However, there is as yet no quantitative analyses of the size of these effects. We conducted two meta-analyses of studies published between 1970 and 2020 that investigated effects of total, acute sleep deprivation on memory (i.e., at least one full night of sleep deprivation): one for deprivation occurring before learning and one for deprivation occurring after learning. The impact of sleep deprivation after learning on memory was associated with Hedges’ g = 0.277, 95% CI [0.177, 0.377]. Whether testing took place immediately after deprivation or after recovery sleep moderated the effect, with significantly larger effects observed in immediate tests. Procedural memory tasks also showed significantly larger effects than declarative memory tasks. The impact of sleep deprivation before learning was associated with Hedges’ g = 0.621, 95% CI [0.473, 0.769]. Egger’s tests for funnel plot asymmetry suggested significant publication bias in both meta-analyses. Statistical power was very low in most of the analyzed studies. Highly powered, preregistered replications are needed to estimate the underlying effect sizes more precisely.