The neurons firing inside the brain's memory center as we sleep might not only be revisiting past experiences. According to a new study, they could also be looking towards the future, rehearsing activity that hasn't happened yet.
Published in Nature, so potentially quite an impactful finding.
That's pretty fascinating.
"We can see these other changes occurring during sleep, and when we put the animals back in the environment a second time, we can validate that these changes really do reflect something that was learned while the animals were asleep," says neuroscientist Caleb Kemere, from Rice University in the US.
"It's as if the second exposure to the space actually happens while the animal is sleeping."
Reminds me of this study about the "brief period of creativity and insight in the semi-lucid state that occurs just as we begin to drift into sleep, a sleep phase called N1"
ABSTRACT: The ability to think creatively is paramount to facing new challenges, but how creativity arises remains mysterious. Here, we show that the brain activity common to the twilight zone between sleep and wakefulness (nonrapid eye movement sleep stage 1 or N1) ignites creative sparks. Participants (N = 103) were exposed to mathematical problems without knowing that a hidden rule allowed solving them almost instantly. We found that spending at least 15 s in N1 during a resting period tripled the chance to discover the hidden rule (83% versus 30% when participants remained awake), and this effect vanished if subjects reached deeper sleep. Our findings suggest that there is a creative sweet spot within the sleep-onset period, and hitting it requires individuals balancing falling asleep easily against falling asleep too deeply.
That creativity sweet spot indeed seems to happen at times when you are actually not trying to find a solution to a problem. It somehow happens when one is least thinking of it. Kinda makes sense that a semi-lucid sleeping state would fit such conditions.
Thanks for sharing!