Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis discovered that extra sleep supports the brain overcome neurological deficiencies that could block memory development.
For the study, researchers examined three groups of fruit flies. They hampered their skill to remember by disabling a different critical memory gene in each group.
After gene was disabled, one of the groups suffered a memory condition reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease. In another group, the flies showed problems establishing brain connections which encode memories. The last group had too many of the aforementioned brain connections.
Quoted by Medical News Today from the statement of the study’s lead author Stephane Dissel, PhD, said that while sleep proved incapable of restoring the missing gene disabled the team of researchers, it did find “ways to work around the physiological problem.” This means that none of gene work accurately. Thus, sleep can’t bring that missing gene back, but it finds way to work around the physiological problem.
Paul Shaw, PhD, a professor of neurobiology at the Washington University School of Medicine who was involved in the study, was quoted by Medical News as having said their “data showed that extra sleep can handle any of these” memory problems, but it must “be the right kind of sleep, and we’re not sure how to induce this kind of slumber in the human brain yet, but our research suggests that if we can learn how, it could have significant therapeutic potential.
In the study, researchers restored memory in each group of flies by using one of three techniques to expand sleeping time. They stimulated a cluster of key brain cells, boosted the production of a protein linked to sleep or gave the flies a drug that mimicked the activity of an important chemical messenger.
Nonetheless, an extra three to four hours of sleep daily over as little as two days restored the flies’ ability to make memories.
KMPH Fox 26 reported that an extra three to four hours of sleep each day is enough to restore memories in a matter of just a couple of days.