Playing a certain type of sound stimulation during sleep might
help improve your memory, a small new study suggests.
Slow oscillations in brain activity occur during slow-wave
sleep and are critical for retaining memories. This study found that playing
sounds synchronised to the rhythm of those oscillations enhances the
oscillations and boosts memory.
The findings suggest an easy and noninvasive way to enhance
memory, according to the authors of the study.
"The beauty lies in the simplicity to apply auditory
stimulation at low intensities - an approach that is both practical and ethical,
if compared, for example, with electrical stimulation - and therefore portrays a
straightforward tool for clinical settings to enhance sleep rhythms," Dr Jan
Born, of the University of Tubingen, in Germany, said.
How the study was done
Born and his colleagues conducted their tests on 11 people
while they slept on different nights. When exposed to stimulating sounds that
were in sync with the brain's slow oscillation rhythm, the participants were
better able to remember word associations they had learned the evening
Sound stimulation out of sync with the brain's slow oscillation
rhythm was ineffective in improving memory.
The researchers said the sound stimulation technique might also
help improve sleep.
The US National Institutes of Health explains how sleep strengthens
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