In Neuroscience 3rd ed by Bear et al. on page 607, immediate early genes are described as related to changing synaptic strength, yet have decreased expression during sleep. The explanation given is that "learning and memory formation are largely absent in [sleep]." But that seems somewhat counterintuitive as LTP occurs during sleep.

What is really going on here?

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    $\begingroup$ memory consolidation is highly prominent during sleep. What do you define by memory formation? The gain of new information? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 17 '15 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ I think it is indeed important to note the difference between consolidation and formation. Serotonin and epinephrin levels (both important for memory formation) are very low during sleep, so the synaptic pathways being modulated by LTP are probably not very active. Just speculating here, but perhaps this is even a mechanism to focus LTP on pathways from events in the near past by minimizing 'present' pathways of the same form. $\endgroup$ – Sleepses Mar 17 '15 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ As @Sleepses suggests, there are theories that memory consolidation involves the pruning of synapses resulting in the lowering of net synaptic "weight" while asleep in order to improve the signal to noise of new memories and to prevent acquisition saturation. $\endgroup$ – Louis Leung Aug 13 '18 at 22:49

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