What's the Latest Development?
Recently, a team of German researchers wanted to find out of if certain noises help humans to sleep any better. They designed an experiment which tracked the sleep patterns of participants while they listened to certain sounds. "During one night, as the participants approached deep sleep, the researchers played sounds ('pink noise') that were synchronized to their brain rhythms. As a control, no sounds were played the other night. In addition, the participants were shown 120 pairs of words each night before going to be. First thing in the morning, they were tested to see how many of the pairs they remembered."
What's the Big Idea?
Individuals who listened to pink noise while they slept proved better at remembering the pairs of words they had been shown the night before. While those with better memories did not receive more sleep, they did sleep deeper and those periods of deep sleep lasted longer. "The key here, write the researchers, is that the frequency of the sounds was in sync with the subjects' brain waves. Were this technique to be further developed, it could potentially be used to improve sleep in general, and possibly even to enhance brain activity when we're awake. Although it's even less viable, for now, than electric brain stimulation, the latter has been proposed as a way of treating Alzheimer's, fighting depression, easing pain, and the ever-popular 'boosting creativity.'"
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