Here's another fine development in sleep science today! A new study shows that young adults, like babies, sleep better when rocked. University of Geneva neuroscientist Laurence Bayer and colleagues built a gently rocking bed and used EEG to monitor adults' brain activity as they slept. From Science News:
Study participants fell asleep faster while being rocked, the researchers found. In a stationary bed, people took an average of 16.7 minutes to reach a light stage of non-REM sleep called N2. But when rocked, the young adults hit this sleep stage after an average of 10 minutes. Rocked people also spent more time in a deep non-REM stage of sleep called N3, and had fewer wake-ups. And rocking boosted the number of sleep spindles — fast bursts of brain activity that mark good sleep.
Before people fell asleep, they learned pairs of words, and then were given a memory test the next morning. After a night of rocking, people were better at remembering the words, an improvement that suggested higher quality sleep.
"Whole-Night Continuous Rocking Entrains Spontaneous Neural Oscillations with Benefits for Sleep and Memory" (Current Biology)
Ziya Tong is a veteran science reporter who spent years hosting Discovery's flagship science program, Daily Planet: it's the sort of job that gives you a very broad, interdisciplinary view of the sciences, and it shows in her debut book, The Reality Bubble: Blind Spots, Hidden Truths, and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World, […]
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