Researchers from New York University have proven that a good sleep during the night really does stimulate the brain because that's when nerve cells are built, which help with learning.
The fact that a night's sleep is healthy and improves memory has been proven in a multitude of studies throughout the years. But for the first time ever, scientists have managed to prove that by sleeping, we boost our ability to learn more effectively.
The study also proved that if we don't close our eyes while we sleep, proteins accumulate in them, which increases the risk of Alzheimer's.
Using a microscope, the scientists have studied the brains of mice, some of which slept regularly, while others were deprived of sleep.
Afterwards, the rodents were trained to stay on top of a rotarod for the first time.
The American scientists discovered that in the group of mice that handled the task faster and more easily, new neurons had formed at the edges of their nerve cells, with only the mice that were left to get enough sleep having these neurons.
The study is published in Science magazine and is the first physical evidence to show that sleep helps to solidify and absorb new knowledge.
Learning and sleep are interrelated processes, with a healthy sleep being capable of causing changes in the region of the cortex responsible for voluntary movements.
Prof. Wen-Biao Gan from New York University stated that if we don't sleep well, we won't be able to learn well.
After a good night's sleep, special neurons with dendritic branches form in the nerve cells, which can ease long-term memory.
Every time we learn something new, the neurons form networks in a specific branch; the human brain can be symbolically represented as being the crown of a tree.
The scientists' find also provides crucial information about the functioning role of the neuron, showing that the human brain memorizes what it has learned throughout the day using sleep.