Researchers at UCSF are learning some of the benefits of deep sleep.
During non-REM sleep, slow brain waves bolster neural touchpoints that are directly related to a task that was newly learned while awake, while weakening neural links that are not, the researchers found.
“This phenomenon may be related to the notion of ‘extracting the gist’ of how to perform a novel task,” said Karunesh Ganguly, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology. “Sleep appears to reduce neural activity that is not related to a task we are in the process of learning.”
Having a better handle on the mechanics of how sleep affects learning could lead to new medical stimulation devices, and consumer-driven wearable devices, or “electroceuticals,” which stimulate brain cells and improve learning as we snooze. Devices from some startups are headed in that direction, but so far they are designed to stimulate the brain while we are awake.
Read more at www.ucsf.edu