SUBSCRIBE NOW Just 99¢ for your first month

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Health Fusion: Your brain keys into unfamiliar voices while you sleep

While you snooze, your brain stays busy and alert. It pays attention to unfamiliar voices. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shares details of emerging research about how your brain keeps working while you count sheep.

Man and dog napping
While you sleep, your brain stays busy
Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service
We are part of The Trust Project.

ROCHESTER — Have you ever heard that we only ever use about 10% of our brains? Emerging research about the complexity of our brains contradicts that idea.

Take, for example, new research from the University of Salzburg in Austria. Neuroscientists there have found that while you snooze, your brain stays busy and pays attention to unfamiliar voices. They say that during sleep your brain is doing a balancing act. It helps protect your sleep, but also it stays alert to help you know if you should wake up.

By measuring the brain activity of people exposed to familiar and unfamiliar voices while they slept, the researchers found that your brain enters into what they call a "sentinel processing mode." During that state, your brain is asleep, but it can still process important info, such as the presence of unfamiliar voices.

They also found evidence that the brain may be able to learn when you're asleep. Because brainwaves changed as unfamiliar voices became more familiar over time.

Health_Fusion-1400x1400-Sponsor.jpg
Health Fusion logo Sponsor 1400x1400

While your mind and body rest, it seems that your brain continues to work to promote good health.

ADVERTISEMENT

The research is published in JNeurosci.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION VIDEOS:
A whiff of the sweet smells of springtime are a seasonal joy. But the pollen-filled air also may send people with allergies running to their medicine cabinets. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams gets tips on how to handle seasonal allergies from asthma and allergy specialist.

What to read next
Fentanyl has taken root in Montana and in communities across the Mountain West during the pandemic, after formerly being prevalent mostly east of the Mississippi River, said Keith Humphreys of the Stanford-Lancet Commission on the North American Opioid Crisis. Montana law enforcement officials have intercepted record numbers of pale-blue pills made to look like prescription opioids such as OxyContin. Nationwide, at least 103,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2021, a 45% increase from 2019, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 7 of every 10 of those deaths were from synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl.
Over time, Dr. Leslie Keeley’s injection became known as the “Gold Cure,” named for its supposed content. Later analysis cast doubt on the idea that gold was used at all, but a foundational principal of Keeley's treatment centers continues today, in programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
Do you love fresh, homegrown produce but don't have a yard? In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out her friend's DIY pallet vegetable garden for small spaces.
Research about the health benefits of nature and greenery keeps coming. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out a new study that shows increasing the amount of urban greenspace could have prevented thousands of deaths.