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The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep - PSY00014H

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  • Department: Psychology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Gareth Gaskell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

We spend more than 200,000 hours of our lives asleep, compared with perhaps 20,000 hours in formal education. Surprisingly, the effects of sleep on the brain remain poorly understood. This module will explore the impact of sleep on cognitive performance, drawing evidence from behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology methods. Although the module cuts across several strands of psychology, there will be a particular focus on the potential impact of sleep on memory and knowledge.

Module learning outcomes

  • Differentiate the main models of sleep associated consolidation
  • Describe evidence relating to the impact of sleep on memory and cognitive performance
  • Relate specific components of sleep to changes in behaviour
  • Explain the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep disorders on cognitive performance
  • Discuss the relationship between dreams and behaviour

Module content

  • Why do we sleep?
  • Sleep deprivation and cognitive performance
  • Theories of memory consolidation
  • Sleep and memory consolidation
  • Sleep and emotion
  • Dreams and behaviour
  • Levels of consciousness
  • Sleep disorders and cognition
  • Sleep across the lifespan

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep
5 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep
5 hours 100

Module feedback

The marks on all assessed work will be provided on e-vision.

Indicative reading

Introductory Reading:

Siegel, J. M. (2009). Sleep viewed as a state of adaptive inactivity. Nat Rev Neurosci, 10, 747-753.

Walker, M. (2018). Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams. Penguin.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.