Identical brain mechanisms are responsible for triggering memory in both sleep and wakefulness, new research at the University of Birmingham has shown.
The study sheds new light on the processes used by the brain to ‘reactivate’ memories during sleep, consolidating them so they can be retrieved later.
Dr Thomas Schreiner, of the School of Psychology, who led the research, says: “Although sleep and wakefulness might seem to have little in common, this study shows that brain activity in each of these states might be more similar than we previously thought. The neural activity we recorded provides further evidence for how important sleep is to memory and, ultimately, for our well-being.”
“If we can better understand how memory really works, this could lead to new approaches for the treatment of memory disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.”