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E. A Better Understanding of non-REM Sleep

Narrator: This is Science Today. A recent University of California, San Francisco study linking sleep to significant early brain development, has uncovered an interesting finding. According to the study's lead investigator, Dr. Marcos Frank, their results suggest it's non-rapid eye movement, or non-REM sleep, that seems to be important in this process.

Frank: This seems a little counter-intuitive for most folks because people tend to think of rapid eye movement sleep as where all the business must be with sleep because the brain looks very much like waking during this time - there's lots of activation of the brain.

Narrator: But Frank says their results don't rule out a role for REM sleep in the process of learning and memory.

Frank: What they really show is that it's the deep kind of slumber, where the brain is firing in a very peculiar way during this time. It's firing in an synchronized, bursting sort of way, so the whole brain is oscillating on and off and we think that this reverberation activity through the circuits is responsible for the strengthening of the effects of prior waking experience.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.