Popular sleep drug boosts memory

Researchers at the University of California Riverside have discovered that a commonly prescribed sleep aid enhances the process of consolidating memories in the brain. The drug zolpidem (brand name Ambien) could be critical in the development of sleep therapies that help people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, as well as schizophrenia.

“This is the first study to show you can manipulate sleep to improve memory. It suggests sleep drugs could be a powerful tool to tailor sleep to particular memory disorders,” says psychologist Sara C. Mednick, who led the study.