Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Background. It happens often that, at the end of the day when I return to home, I try to recall past events that took place that day or the day before (memory rehearsal), but surprisingly I find that I have lost almost all details about some of them: while some details are kept "in good state", other are altered (false memory: wrong order of events, memory gaps, inconsistent and incoherent memories), and the rest are forgotten! Boundaries between details are blurred! Such things happen when I'm tired.

On the one hand, if I don't try to recall events, e.g. when I postpone such practice to a later moment (after resting), I will forget some details as I have wasted time.

On the other hand, when I try to rehearse some memories that happened the same day, it seems that the biological state of tiredness affects the ability to recall in such a manner that details become altered and false memories are produced (again a loss of information)! Both cases are bad, but which one is the worse?

The point of this question is to know whether the biological state of tiredness can definitely alter some critical events when we try to recall.

Should we avoid trying to recall events when we are tired?

share|improve this question
I have no idea what you are referring to. Could you elaborate/clarify, preferably entirely rewrite, the second paragraph please? – Steven Jeuris Feb 11 '14 at 13:49
Are you asking if recalling the events of a day at even a later time, leads to more memory loss? – Mien Feb 11 '14 at 14:33
have you ever experienced loss of memory when you are tired? – jihed gasmi Feb 11 '14 at 14:48
So, "Can tiredness lead to remembering events differently than how they really happened?" If that is your question, please update the title and content accordingly. – Steven Jeuris Feb 11 '14 at 15:11

You might not be looking for an answer about sleep deprivation per se—you might just be interested in normal daily fatigue immediately before normal sleep—but of course sleep deprivation results in tiredness, so the answer seems likely to be equivalent (though I'm not a sleep researcher by specialty). Here's an answer for sleep deprivation and memory (Alhola & Polo-Kantola, 2007):

Total [sleep deprivation] impairs attention and working memory, but it also affects other functions, such as long-term memory and decision-making.

And another equivalent answer (Chee, Chuah, Venkatraman, Chan, Philip, & Dinges, 2006):

Performance accuracy declined significantly during the performance of...working memory tasks following [sleep deprivation].


Alhola, P., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2007). Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 3(5), 553–567. Retrieved from

Chee, M. W., Chuah, L. Y., Venkatraman, V., Chan, W. Y., Philip, P., & Dinges, D. F. (2006). Functional imaging of working memory following normal sleep and after 24 and 35 h of sleep deprivation: Correlations of fronto-parietal activation with performance. Neuroimage, 31(1), 419–428. Retrieved from

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.