How good or bad your memory is, is directly linked to how much sleep you get. New research made on flies, proved that memory and sleep go hand in hand.
New scientific research has found sleep, memory and the level of understanding are directly connected. It is known that the majority of animals from insects like flies to human beings have problems remembering when they don’t get enough sleep. Research has shown that sleep is a crucial element in transforming short term memory into long term memory.
Why are these processes directly related, is still unknown. The question is, does the mechanism that helps sleep is also involved in consolidating memory or are they two separate and distinct processes? Is memory supported by sleep duration, mainly because the brain is resting, allowing the memory neurons to work or are memory neurons setting our brain to sleep?
Paula Haynes and Bethany Christmann, Griffith Lab, graduate students, at the Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, noted their new findings on the journal eLife.
Their research studied the dorsal paired medial neurons known as memory consolidators in Droshophila Melanogaster. They noted that when dorsal paired medial neurons were active the flies slept more, but when inactive the flies kept buzzing their wings.
These kind of memory consolidators, make the brain more aware, as they convert the short term memory into long term memory. Researchers have reached these conclusion after studying the Drosophila’s brain section called the mushroom body, linked to the hippocampus, right where our brain stores memories.
Research demonstrated that the elements of the mushroom body which are responsible for memory and focusing, are also responsible for keeping the Drosophila Melanogaster awake. In plain, simple words, the process acts as if the mushroom section was inviting the brain to stay awake and discover more things. Then, right after having a thought, the dorsal paired medial neurons start sending signals to suppress that section, trying to communicate the brain that in order to remember this specific thought it will need to sleep and rest, explained Christmann.
The study of understanding and figuring out the link between memory and sleep in flies, will further help scientists to discover more of the unknown of the human brain. It could provide a deeper understanding of how memory and sleep could be affected by different situations, like insomnia or memory troubles, added Christmann.
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