Researchers at Peking University School of Life Science, China, revealed how repeatedly waking up at night means our brain is consolidating memories. The study is published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
To understand the role of sleep in memory, the research team used fiber photometry in mice. They examined how the release of the arousal mediator norepinephrine (NE) shapes sleep, periodic micro-arousals during REM sleep, and memory consolidation.
The results revealed that sleep affects the brain, stages of sleep, and memory consolidation significantly. In fact, memory and sleep are largely intertwined. Our brain actually wakes us up many times during REM sleep (throughout the night) in order to consolidate and boost our memory.
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Kjaerby, C., Andersen, M., Hauglund, N., Untiet, V., Dall, C., Sigurdsson, B., Ding, F., Feng, J., Li, Y., Weikop, P., Hirase, H., & Nedergaard, M. (2022). Memory-enhancing properties of sleep depend on the oscillatory amplitude of norepinephrine. Nature Neuroscience, 25(8), 1059-1070. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-022-01102-9