Sleep homeostasis, habits and habituation.
Vyazovskiy VV., Walton ME., Peirson SN., Bannerman DM.
The importance of sleep for behavioural performance during waking is long-established, but the underlying reasons and mechanisms remain elusive. Waking and sleep are associated with changes in the levels of GluA1 AMPAR subunit in synaptic membranes, while studies using genetically-modified mice have identified an important role for GluA1-dependent synaptic plasticity in a non-associative form of memory that underlies short-term habituation to recently experienced stimuli. Here we posit that sleep may play a role in dishabituation, which restores attentional capacity and maximises the readiness of the animal for learning and goal-directed behaviour during subsequent wakefulness. Furthermore we suggest that sleep disturbance may fundamentally change the nature of behaviour, making it more model-free and habitual as a result of reduced attentional capacity.