How we form memories is a complicated system as many different things can disturb Sleepthe process, from drug use to emotional state. But there's one thing that we now know is critically important for memory, and that is sleep.
We tend to equate sleep with rest, but in fact parts of the brain are more active during sleep than they are during wakefulness. In particular, a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is a central hub for integrating learning and memory, becomes very active during certain phases of sleep. Human sleep is subdivided into non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, sometimes called slow wave sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and these different phases are associated with different types (patterns) of hippocampal activity. The hippocampus is activated during wakefulness, so neurons in the hippocampus, for example, code information about new places that we visit and is then reactivated during subsequent sleep when those neurons that encoded new memories come to life again. So you replay your waking experience whilst you're offline during sleep and it's this process which is thought to support the strengthening of memories.
More information on the Sleep Hub will be available in due course.
Sleep Hub Steering Group:
- Prof Matt Jones (Hub Lead and Director of Neuroscience, PPN)
- Dr Michele Bellesi (Research Fellow, PPN)
- Dr Liz Coulthard (Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology, Bristol Medical School)
- Prof Esther Crawley (Professor of Child Health, Bristol Medical School)
- Dr Luisa de Vivo (Research Fellow, PPN)
- Ms Rosemary Greenwood (Honorary Senior Lecturer, Bristol Medical School)
- Dr Jane Hicks (Neuropsychiatrist, North Bristol NHS Trust)
- Dr Ryan McConville (Lecturer in Data Science, Machine Learning and AI, Engineering
- Dr Roisin McNaney (Lecturer, School of Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering)
- Dr Jacqui Oakley (Research Development Manager, Life Sciences)
- Dr Claire Rice (Consultant Senior Lecturer in Multiple Sclerosis Neurology, Bristol Medical School)
- Dr Rebecca Richmond (Vice Chancellor's Fellow, Bristol Medical School)
- Dr Harry Rolinski (Academic Clinical Lecturer in Stroke Neurology, Bristol Medical School)
- Dr James Selwood (Clinical Research Fellow, Bristol Medical School)