According to a recent investigation, the human brain listens to unusual noises when sleeping in order to keep aware to possible hazards.
Sleeping people’s brain activity was examined in reaction to familiar and strange noises by Austrian scientists.
Hearing strange sounds while sleeping induced the human brain to ‘tune in’ during the first stage of sleep, non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM).
Scientists, on the other hand, didn’t notice the impact throughout REM sleep, the profound phase of sleep, which they attribute to microstructure modifications in the brain.
Despite the fact that our eyes are closed to what is going on surrounding us, the brain constantly monitors the surroundings while we sleep, combining the necessity to safeguard sleep with the desire to wake up.
As per researchers, one way it does this is by preferentially reacting to unexpected voices over familiar ones.
This might be traced directly to the complex process of human development, and the necessity to immediately awaken in the face of potentially dangerous aural cues.
Overall, the study reveals that hearing new voices – such as those on the television – keeps the brain attentive and inhibits a restful night’s sleep.
Researchers from the University of Salzburg led the study, which was released in the journal JNeurosci.
The scientists enlisted the help of 17 participants, 14 of them were female, with an overall age of 22 years.
Throughout a full night’s sleep, the participants, all of whom had no history of sleep problems, were equipped with polysomnography technology.
As participants progressed through the various stages of sleep, polysomnography recorded their brain waves, breathing, muscular tension, moves, heart rate, and more.
Subjects were encouraged to maintain a normal sleep/wake cycle – roughly eight seven to nine hours – for minimum 4 days prior to the commencement of the trial.
They were awakened by the sound of their very own name plus other unknown first names, delivered by a familiar voice like a relative or an unknown voice, as they slept.
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