Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Sleep: A Memory Booster?

What’s going on in the brain while we sleep? A lot! Specifically, processes supporting the consolidation of memories. This Dana Foundation article reviews fascinating studies in which memories are reactivated during sleep thanks to either an odor or an auditory cue. Results suggest that such reactivation leads to better memory:

reactivation during slow-wave sleep supports the transfer of the memory representation from the hippocampus to long-term storage in the neocortex, and also strengthens it

one possible application of such findings could be to overwrite unwanted traumatic memories

another application would be to use the deep-sleep reactivation to enhance memories in students, or in elderly people Read the rest of this entry »

How Well a Baby Sleeps Affects the Development of Key Brain Functions

Both children and adults need a good night sleep to function at their best. A recent study, summarized here, suggests that this is true for babies too: How much sleep a 12 month old baby gets can influence the development of his/her executive functions. Executive functions, supported by the frontal lobes of the brain, are often considered as indicators of children’s likelihood of succeeding in school. They involve decision-making, problem-solving, plan­ning, inhibit­ing, as well as other high-level func­tions (social behav­ior, emo­tional con­trol, work­ing mem­ory, etc.). Read the rest of this entry »

Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain

As part of our ongoing Author Speaks Series, we are honored to present today this excellent article by Dr. Shannon Moffett, based on her illuminating and engaging book. Enjoy!

(and please go to sleep soon if you are reading this late Monday night).
————

Two years ago I finished a book on the mind/brain, called The Three Pound Enigma: The Human Brain and the Quest to Unlock its MysteriesShannon Moffett-Three Pound Enigma . Each chapter profiles a leader in a different aspect of mind/brain research, from neurosurgery to zen Buddhism, from cognitive neuroscience to philosophy of mind. One of my subjects was Dr. Robert Stickgold, a zany, hyper-intelligent mensch of a Harvard sleep researcher. When I met him, I was in medical school and having a grand old time—I’d exacted an extension of my tenure beyond the customary four years, so I had enough time to write the book, do my coursework, and have a life. I was busy, but still got enough sleep, had time to exercise daily, and even went for dinner and a movie sometimes. Although I found Stickgold’s work interesting, there was a part of me that just didn’t get it.

Fast-forward to the present, when I am a resident in emergency medicine at a busy inner-city trauma center; I have two-year-old twins and a husband with a 60-hour-a-week job of his own. I do not exercise. I do not eat unless I can do something else productive at the same time, and even when I do get to sleep in my own bed, my slumber is fractured by the awakenings of two circadianly disparate toddlers. It seems to take me twice as long to “get” new concepts as it used to, and I never feel like I’m functioning at top speed. In short, I am a mess. And NOW I get what Stickgold’s work is all about, and understand that he is both quantifying and explaining exactly what I’m feeling.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learn all about the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit in less than 2 minutes

Check out the Summit Agenda and Reserve Your Spot

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.