In The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest Dr. Penelope A. Lewis provides a highly readable account of the fascinating world of sleep research. Fascinating research is being carried out with animals as varied as fruit flies and rats, as well as with humans. I was surprised to learn that most people actually find it fairly easy to fall asleep in an fMRI scanner.
I have just posted an interview with Dr. Lewis (BSP 107) that includes a discussion of the role of sleep in memory as well as interesting findings about how synapses in the brain actually change during sleep. We still don't know exactly what sleep (and dreaming) are essential, but research in this field is growing. Dr. Lewis is excited about emerging research that suggests improving slow wave sleep may significantly improve learning and memory.
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- The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest by Penelope A. Lewis
- Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep by David K. Randall (audible link)
- Dreaming: A Very Short Introduction by J. Allan Hobson
Xie L, Kang H, Xu Q, et.al. 2013. Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain. Science 342: 373-377. DOI: 10.1126/science.1241224 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Sleep+Drives+Metabolite+Clearance+from+the+Adult+Brain
- G. Tononi and C. Cirelli, “Sleep and Synaptic Homeostatis: A Hypothesis,” Brain Res. Bull. 62 (2003): 143-150. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14638388
- Bushey D, Tononi G, Cirelli C. Sleep and synaptic homeostasis: structural evidence in Drosophila. Science, 332(6037):1576-1581, 2011. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1202839]. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2715914/
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