The Week in Sleep News: July 15, 2022

Parents of rising kindergartners should start helping them get good sleep now.

Couple reading newspaper in bed beneath headline "Sleep News: Week of July 15, 2022."

Here’s the sleep news for this week: 

Even during sleep, you can process music

Researchers from UCLA and Tel Aviv University who studied the cerebral cortex in epilepsy patients found that there is a strong response to sound during sleep that replicated the brain’s response while awake. This study, published by Nature Neuroscience, found that brain cells in the primary auditory cortex responded most vigorously during sleep, but there was a decline in the “top-down” neural feedback that helps create attention and expectation. This means during sleep, there’s a marked differences in brain waves that help the brain understand sound and anticipate what comes next.

Researchers say these findings could help us better determine the information-processing capabilities of people who are unconscious, such as comatose patients or those under anesthesia. They may also point to ways we can improve memory during sleep.

Kindergartners need more sleep

A new study recommends a longer nighttime snooze for children starting kindergarten this upcoming school year. The Journal of Pediatrics not only suggests that parents make sure their child gets consistent 10+ hours of sleep, but that parents start adjusting your child’s bedtime now. Over the course of the year the study was conducted, it was the time leading up to kindergarten that made the biggest difference

Waking up 100 times a night is… normal?

New research from the University of Copenhagen shows that the stress transmitter noradrenaline causes you to wake up more than 100 times a night and that’s perfectly normal. Researchers say that this is not a conscious wakefulness, but that your brain activity during these moments is similar to when you are awake.

Though this study was done on mice, the biological mechanism that was studied is shared by all mammals, leading researchers to believe there is a high probability it can be translated to humans, giving us an important piece of the puzzle in understanding what happens in the brain when we sleep.

In sleep-centric social media... 

NASA took counting the stars to a whole new level this week with the release of the Webb Telescope’s first full-colored images and data.

The background of space is black. Thousands of galaxies appear all across the view. Their shapes and colors vary. Some are various shades of orange, others are white. Most stars appear blue, and are sometimes as large as more distant galaxies that appear next to them. A very bright star is just above and left of center. It has eight bright blue, long diffraction spikes. Between 4 o’clock and 6 o’clock in its spikes are several very bright galaxies. A group of three are in the middle, and two are closer to 4 o’clock. These galaxies are part of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and they are warping the appearances of galaxies seen around them. Long orange arcs appear at left and right toward the center.
@NASA / Twitter