About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Memories Come Back to The Mind During Sleep Through Sleep Spindles

by Chrisy Ngilneii on March 10, 2018 at 7:51 PM
Font : A-A+

Memories Come Back to The Mind During Sleep Through Sleep Spindles

A particular pattern of brain activity called sleep spindles supports the reactivation process of memories so that they are recalled better during sleep, according to a recent research at the University of Birmingham.

Sleep spindles, the short bursts of activity in the brain during sleep, are enhanced when memories are reactivated. This new study has also shown that the content of reactivated memories can be decoded at the time that spindles occur.

Advertisement


Dr Scott Cairney, from the University of York's Department of Psychology, said: "We are quite certain that memories are reactivated in the brain during sleep, but we don't know the neural processes that underpin this phenomenon.

"Sleep spindles have been linked to the benefits of sleep for memory in previous research, so we wanted to investigate whether these brain waves mediate reactivation. If they support memory reactivation, we further reasoned that it could be possible to decipher memory signals at the time that these spindles took place."
Advertisement

The research findings could be important for enhancing understanding of how the brain learns and retains information. Improving knowledge of the mechanisms that are active during sleep could also have implications for further study into memory conditions that arise as a result of these mechanisms failing.

Reactivating memories during sleep occurs spontaneously, but to understand the impacts of this mechanism, the researchers devised a simple test that would allow them to see the reactivation in a controlled manner.

Dr Cairney said: "We asked participants in our study to learn associations between words and pictures of objects or scenes before a nap. Half of the words were then replayed during the nap to trigger the reactivation of the newly learned picture memories

"When the participants woke after a good period of sleep, we presented them again with the words and asked them to recall the object and scene pictures. We found that their memory was better for the pictures that were connected to the words that were presented in sleep, compared to those words that weren't."

The team monitored brain activity during sleep using an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine and this showed them that sleep spindles occurred when memories were reactivated by the presentation of the associated words.

Dr Bernhard Staresina, of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology, said: "Direct induction of sleep spindles - for example, by stimulating the brain with electrodes - perhaps combined with targeted memory reactivation, may enable us to further improve memory performance while we sleep.

"Our data suggest that spindles facilitate processing of relevant memory features during sleep and that this process boosts memory consolidation."

Importantly, the researchers were able to differentiate the brain signals associated with reactivated objects and scenes. This demonstrates that spindles produce a specific code for the content of reactivated memories; a process that may underpin our ability to remember more after sleep.

Dr Cairney said: "When you are awake you learn new things, but when you are asleep you refine them, making it easier to retrieve them and apply them correctly when you need them the most. This is important for how we learn but also for how we might help retain healthy brain functions."

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Snoring Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking Periodic Limb Movement Disorder REM Behavior Disorder Sleep Disturbances In Women Sleep Insomnia Obstructive Sleep Apnea Sleep Disorders: A Prelude 

Recommended Reading
Ageing and Sleep
Sleep is a barometer of good health in the elderly. Sleep problems in the elderly are controlled by ...
Bruxism
Bruxism is the unconscious clenching or grinding of teeth, during sleep. Nocturnal teeth grinding .....
Sleep Disturbances In Women
The physical, emotional and hormonal changes that occur in women during puberty, menstrual cycle, .....
Sleep Disorder
Sleep disorders can either be having difficulty in getting sleep or dozing off at inappropriate ......
Insomnia
Difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep is known as insomnia. It is a symptom that occurs due...
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea should be suspected in overweight middle aged adults who snore loudly and w...
Periodic Limb Movement Disorder
Periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) is a sleep disorder which causes repetitive cramping or jerki...
REM Behavior Disorder
REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) is a sleep disorder in which the person acts out dramatic or violent dre...
Sleep Disorder : Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes - An urge to move, usually due to uncomfortable sensations that...
Sleep Disorder: Sleepwalking
Sleepwalking or “Somnambulism,” is a type of parasomnia and has medico-legal implications...
Sleep Disorders: A Prelude
Sleep disorders include difficulty falling/staying asleep, falling asleep at inappropriate times, ex...
Snoring
Turbulent airflow causes tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate and the noise produced by these v...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use