Growing evidence supports the idea that sleep following learning is critically involved in memory formation. Recent studies suggest that information acquired during waking is reactivated and possibly consolidated during subsequent sleep, especially during rapid-eye movement (REM) or paradoxical sleep (PS). Critical reviews, however, have questioned PS and memory relationships, particularly because of shortcomings of the PS deprivation paradigm applied in many studies. Therefore, in the present study we used an opposite strategy, i.e. we investigated the effects of PS enhancement on memory retention. In three experiments, we found that selective PS enhancement, induced by different procedures after discrimination training in rats, results in increased retention tested 24 h later. Moreover, calculated in all animals (n = 61), there was a highly significant correlation between post-training PS values and retention scores. Our results suggest that an experimentally induced increase of PS after learning facilitates memory consolidation.