Data for: Psychostimulants may reduce long-term memory formation by degrading sleep in healthy adults
Study Abstract: Sleep is vital for biological function and long-term memory formation, with preferential enhancement of emotionally laden content. A growing trend in healthy young adults is the off-label use of psychostimulants, or “smart drugs”, to prevent sleep and, hopefully, enhance cognition. However, the effect of these drugs on sleep-dependent memory processes are unclear. Here, in a within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, we investigated the impact of morning administration of dextroamphetamine on memory retention of negative and neutral pictures after 1) 12 hours of wake, and 2) 24 hours with sleep. After 12-hrs of wake, stimulants demonstrated a 6% boost in memory for neutral, but not negative, pictures, compared to placebo. In addition, stimulants impaired nighttime sleep and resulted in a 12% reduction in memory for neutral pictures at 24-hrs, compared to placebo. Again, no performance differences between drug conditions were found for negative pictures. Together, these findings suggest that stimulants provide a fleeting recognition memory boost during the day, but their impairment of nighttime sleep likely leads to next day memory costs.