Scientists have long known that sleep plays an important role in the formation and retention of new memories. That process of memory consolidation is associated with sudden bursts of oscillatory brain activity, called sleep spindles, which can be visualized and measured on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Now researchers reporting in Current Biology on March 8 have found that sleep spindles also play a role in strengthening new memories when newly learned information is played back to a person as they sleep.
The findings provide new insight into the process of memory consolidation during sleep. They may also suggest new ways to help people remember things better, according to the researchers.
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