The Effect of Mild Skin Temperature Warming on Stage-Specific Sleep and Memory Consolidation
Previous studies have demonstrated that a mild increase in skin temperature can induce longer and deeper sleep, particularly during SWS the period of sleep associated with memory consolidation. This study attempted to differentiate the effects of mild skin temperature manipulation on various stages of sleep (SWS and REM) by inducing warm temperature during a single sleep stage and then testing memory consolidation after each condition. Preliminary analysis of individuals who completed at least one condition revealed that memory scores were greatest after the SWS night, as predicted. Compared to control conditions, skin warming during the SWS warming condition showed a slight increase in memory recall in the word-pairing task. Moreover, skin warming during the REM warming condition produced a decline in memory recall compared to both SWS and control conditions. Although, these findings were not corroborated in participants who completed all conditions, the low number of participants may be limiting our ability to detect these effects.