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THE brain hears everything while we are asleep but doesn’t bother converting sounds into conscious thoughts

LAZY BRAIN! Our brain’s hear everything while we sleep but don’t bother with it says news study

"we were surprised to discover that the brain's response during sleep was much stronger and richer than we had expected"

THE brain hears everything while we are asleep but doesn’t bother converting sounds into conscious thoughts, an eight-year study has found. 

Boffins found that our ability to identify sounds gets switched off while we snooze. 

The brain responds to and analyses sounds, but doesn’t pass them on to our consciousness. 

We experience a rise in the level of alpha-beta waves when we sleep which are associated with attention and expectation. 

According to the study, the strength of alpha-beta waves is the main difference between the brain’s response to noise in states of wakefulness and sleep.

 

 

Boffins at the University of Tel Aviv used medical research being carried out on epilepsy patients to come to this conclusion.

These subjects already had electrodes planted in their brain for purposes of diagnosis and treatment. 

The electrodes enabled neuroscientists to see the differences in the response of the cerebral cortex when patients were both asleep and awake.

The research was so detailed they could see the responses in individual neurons.

A number of sounds were played through speakers at the bedsides of the volunteers, with data being collected over eight years. 

Neuroscientist Hanna Hayat said: “After sounds are received in the ear, the signals are relayed from one station to the next within the brain. 

“Until recently it was believed that during sleep these signals decay rapidly once they reach the cerebral cortex. 

“But looking at the data from the electrodes, we were surprised to discover that the brain’s response during sleep was much stronger and richer than we had expected. 

“Moreover, this powerful response spread to many regions of the cerebral cortex. 

“The strength of brain response during sleep was similar to the response observed during wakefulness, in all but one specific feature. 

“A dramatic difference was recorded: the level of activity of alpha-beta waves.”

Through this discovery, scientists will be able to better measure whether someone is properly unconscious or not. It would be useful during hospital operations, on people in comas and when checking for signs of dementia. 

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