Telluride Science: “Asleep to remember,” Sleep & Memory, Free Webinar 2/3!

Telluride Science: “Asleep to remember,” Sleep & Memory, Free Webinar 2/3!

On Thursday, February 3, Telluride Science is hosting a webinar titled “Asleep to remember: the role of sleep in memory consolidation.” The speaker is Dr. Paola Malerba of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Malerba Lab, based in Columbus, Ohio. The link to the webinar is here. (After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

Go here for more on the game-changing Telluride Science Research Center.

Dr. Paola Malerba

Terms such as circadian rhythm, adenosine, NREM and REM might sound familiar. They all related to sleep.

Regulated by melatonin, circadian rhythm is our natural “wake drive.” It responds to light and dark so, in theory, we stay awake during the day, but sleep during the night when light wanes.

Adenosine is a chemical that causes “sleep pressure” or an increased drive to sleep.

Sleep naturally happens when our adenosine is at its highest and the circadian “wake drive” is at its lowest.

Non-REM or NREM sleep is meant to clear out mental trash in our brains stored in our hippocampus and move information into long-term storage in the cortex.

REM sleep reinforces the information that remains and forges creative, sometimes novel, connections between them.

Sleep is universal in animals (true, according to research, even in insect and worms). But In the Age of Corona, many are more chronically sleep-deprived than they might realize. And the consequences of sleep deprivation can be severe. They include, but are not limited to, reduced productivity and happiness and an increased risk of numerous afflictions including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

What else can happen when we don’t get enough Zzzzs? A laundry list from the Cleveland Clinic includes:

Lack of alertness. Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact on how you feel.
Excessive daytime sleepiness. It can make you very sleepy and tired during the day.
Relationship stress. It can make you feel moody and you can become more likely to have conflicts with others.
Quality of life. You may become less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise.
Greater likelihood for car accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Impaired memory. Lack of sleep can affect your ability to think, remember and process information.

At her upcoming webinar titled “Asleep to remember: the role of sleep in memory consolidation” Telluride Science’s Dr. Paola Malerba will get into the weeds on the last item on that list: sleep and memory. 

Evidently poor quality sleep in adults causes memories to stay stuck in the hippocampus and not reach the prefrontal cortex. That results in forgetfulness and difficulty remembering simple things like names.

In addition, as Dr. Malerba explains:

“While we sleep, our brains are highly active. Sleep contributes to our health and cognition via many functions, including memory processing. Specific brain oscillations found during sleep are crucial for this process, and their presence and coordination across brain regions promotes memory performance. In this my introductory presentation, we will discuss how brain dynamics during sleep supports memory, and how novel techniques leverage this natural mechanisms to boost memory performance.”

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