Evidence -- Brain 'resets' during sleep

April 11, 2017


Some great breakthrough findings on the role of sleep from the University of Wisconsin Medical School.....why you need to sleep...during sleep the synapses shrink in most synaptic junctions in the brain, allowing for more learning the next day. More investigation is required to determine the actual duration of sleep required. Thanks Medical News


Visual evidence shows brain 'resetting' during sleep


MNT Knowledge Center
Written by Hannah Nichols
Published: Sunday 5 February 2017


Throughout the day, the human brain absorbs a torrent of knowledge, processes the information, and learns, before "switching off" over night. New research explains this process in action. Microscopic images of synapses - the junction between two nerve cells - have been shown to expand with daytime stimulation and shrink with sleep, thus resetting the brain ready for the next day.


Constant stimulation of the synapse during wakeful hours results in it growing stronger and larger, and it is thought that this expansion plays a key role in memory and learning. To ensure that the synapse does not become saturated and neural signaling and memories obliterated, SHY indicates that this growth must be counterbalanced.


Sleep is thought to be the perfect counterbalance and ideal time for the process of renormalization. During sleep, people are less aware of the "here and now" and can block out the external world, which may balance and restore the synapse.

Findings of the research show that the size of the synapses correlated with the amount of sleep the mouse had had previous to the image being captured. A few hours of sleep were found to reduce the size of the synapses by 18 percent in both areas of the cerebral cortex. The changes were also confirmed to be proportional to the synapses' size.

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