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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.01002

Can Daytime Napping Assist the Process of Skills Acquisition After Stroke?

  • 1University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
  • 2Center for Neuroprosthetics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Switzerland
  • 3Center for Neuroprosthetics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Switzerland
  • 4Département des Neurosciences Cliniques, Université de Genève, Switzerland

Acquisition and reacquisition of skills is a main pillar of functional recovery after stroke. Nighttime sleep has a positive influence on motor learning in healthy individuals, whereas the effect of daytime sleep on neuro-rehabilitative training and relearning of the trained skills is often neglected. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between daytime sleep (napping) and the ability to learn a new visuomotor task in chronic stroke patients. The main hypothesis was that sleep enhances motor memory consolidation after training resulting in better motor performance after a period of daytime sleep. Thirty stroke survivors completed the study. They were randomized to one of three different conditions (i) wakeful resting, (ii) short nap (10-20 minutes), or (iii) a long nap (50-80 minutes). All individuals trained the task with the contralesional, stroke-impaired hand, behavioral evaluation was performed after the break time (wake, nap) and 24h later. Patients demonstrated a significant task-related behavioral improvement throughout the training. In contrast to the main hypothesis, there was no evidence for sleep-dependent motor consolidation early after the initial, diurnal break, or after an additional full night of sleep. In a secondary analysis, the performance changes of stroke survivors were compared with those of a group of healthy older adults who performed the identical task within the same experimental setup with their non-dominant hand. Performance levels were comparable between both cohorts at all time points. Stroke-related difficulties in motor control did not impact on the degree of performance improvement through training and daytime sleep did not impact on the behavioral gains in the two groups. In summary, the current study indicates that one-time daytime sleep after motor training does not influence behavioral gains.

Keywords: Stroke, motor recovery, Plasticity and Learning, napping, Aging, consolidation, motor adaptation

Received: 23 Jul 2018; Accepted: 06 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Yves VANDERMEEREN, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Reviewed by:

Graziella Quattrocchi, Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom
Vincenzo Muto, University of Liege, Belgium
Shailesh S. Kantak, Moss Rehabilitation Hospital, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Backhaus, Braass, Gerloff and Hummel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Friedhelm C. Hummel, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany,