Studies have shown that sleeping is a way to recuperate the brain by clearing past memories being ready to store new memories for the future. Using animal samples, the researchers were able to discover the mechanism and principle of the brain in clearing out the accumulated memories during sleep.
A study was conducted by Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to Daily Mail, the research team utilized mice as their sample proving that there is a cycle during sleep and when awake. The connections between brain cells also termed as synapses shrink and remains relaxed when a person is asleep while when the persons awakens the synapses will again grow and become active once again.
The researchers were able to come up with the results by making incision in the brain region of the mice which is responsible for memories. They further scanned each layer of the brain for 24 hours using serial block-face SEM or Scanning Electron Microscopy. Further studies regarding the relaxation of the brain synapses during sleep was conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University.
The scientists from John Hopkins also utilized mice in their study. According to Graham Diering a lead author in the research, the brain will again be recalibrated once the storage is too saturated already. Getting not enough sleep could impair and could result to memory loss.
According to Science Daily, the research team was able to recognize a substance called Homer1a a protein that is very essential in the regulation of sleep, being awake and in the homeostasis of of neurons. The study resulted in a 20 percent drop in receptor protein levels when the mice are asleep as compared when the mice are awake.
Moreover, Diering added that when both the mice and mammals are awake the synapses in the central nervous system is not weakened rather it is strengthened. Homeostatic Scaling Down is the process wherein the neural network of the central nervous system being relatively weak leaving some strength for the other neurons to function in order for the brain to store new memories.
The research could also advance as a medical platform in the treatment of some nervous pathology such as Alzheimer's disease and amnesia. Meanwhile, medical advancement is on its way in the treatment profile of obesity; click here for more information.