A new study on mice show how sleep helps memory after a team in the United States and China used advanced microscopy to study the brain during sleep.
The research team used microscopy to view the connections between brain cells and their formation during deep sleep. According to the study, published in the Science journal, sleep is vital to memory and without it, even the most intense training cannot replace a good night’s rest.
Uncovering the mechanisms of the brain and how it stores memories, scientists at Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School and New York University School of Medicine used mice to study the brain. Training the mice to walk on top of a rotating rod, researchers then witnessed what was going on inside the brain in both mice who were sleeping and mice who were sleep deprived.
The study shows that the mice who slept formed a higher amount of connections between neurons compared to mice who were sleep deprived. The more connections between the neurons, the more the mice learned. This finding adds significance to the connection between sleep and memory as it showed deep sleep is necessary for memory formation.
Speaking with BBC about the study, New York University School of Medicine professor Prof Wen-Biao Gan stated:
“Finding out sleep promotes new connections between neurons is new, nobody knew this before…We thought sleep helped, but it could have been other causes, and we show it really helps to make connections and that in sleep the brain is not quiet, it is replaying what happened during the day and it seems quite important for making the connections.”
Mice Show How Sleep Helps Memory According To New Study.