Scientists have discovered how our memories stabilize while we sleep
on 10 November 2019
balance is everything

Isn't it nice to know, that while we sleep, our brain is busying itself in preparation for the day ahead and building up our database of knowledge and new memories; that is why it is so important to get a good night's sleep; it can lead to a good day ahead and a better ability to remember it in the future . . .

There's more to sleep than meets a closed eye!

A spectacular finding in this piece of research, the researchers edge a step closer to understanding how our brain works, with specific reference to the relationship between learning something new or updating existing knowledge and the brain states/regions involved in converting the new information into long term memory. It has long been known that memory is consolidated and reconsolidated during sleep states and the brainwave state of theta, is the predominant one during these processes. However, this new insight into the role of Delta waves (aka slow-wave/deep sleep) is very interesting. Essentially the brain, by going to deeper and slower brainwave frequencies (theta occurs in cycles of 4 - 8 Hz and delta 1.5 to 4Hz) the brain is able to hyperfocus and thus potentially increase its efficacy and efficiency of the memory/learning processes.

what has this to do with hypnotherapy? Well, quite a lot actually it’s not going to change hypnosis but it certainly adds weight to my evolving theory of what it is and how it works! Mostly, hypnotherapists day we tap into the subconscious mind but Sind the theory of find is both hypothetical or philosophical, how can you tap into such a vague strict? You could slice a brain into 1000 pieces horizontally and 1000 pieces vertically (1 million pieces) and you wouldn’t find a single one that could be identified as ‘mind!’ That being the case, how could you affect change in such a structure?

Fortunately, we don’t have to change the mind, it kind of changes itself through our awareness more or less consequentially. What we actually affect change in, during hypnosis, is something far more substantive than the mind, it is the brain itself that brings about the change any client experiences. This change occurs at the level of individual cells and networks of them. Everything we do, say or think is a consequence of neural functioning (brain activity). Correspondingly any change we experience is a consequence of changes within the brain.  Mostly this occurs outside of our awareness, we merely become aware of the outcome of that change. 

So, this research just provides a little more evidence and understanding of how our brain makes memories and, hopefully, I have given some insight into how hypnosis facilitates this natural process? However, if you would like to expand on the what, why and wherewithal of hypnosis, take a look over here . . .

Hypnotherapy (hypnosis) is an especially effective way to enhance this process of memory consolidation and reconsolidation because it allows us to experience, neurochemically, what it feels like to have a good experience; in the same way a dream of falling allows us to have a fearful one and our brain does the reset; while we rest! In both of the previously mentioned sleep experiences, the perceived reality is false but despite that, it is believable. The brain's defensive mechanisms will take what it feels is appropriate action and in the case of the falling dream, this could prospectively be instrumental in the increase and somewhat facilitate the onset of anxiety, chronic stress or depression. Similarly, the empowering uplifting experience in hypnosis can lead to a boost in confidence, heightened self-esteem, more ability to manage your emotions etc. Wouldn't that be nice!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

My objective is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into emotional experiences that may actually be happening but for reasons, we may never have imagined! If you want to know more about Hypnotherapy, why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here or to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research:

Scientists at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology (CNRS/Collège de France/INSERM) have shown that delta waves emitted while we sleep are not generalized periods of silence during which the cortex rests, as has been described for decades in the scientific literature. Instead, they isolate assemblies of neurons that play an essential role in long-term memory formation. These results were published on 18 October 2019 in Science.

While we sleep, the hippocampus reactivates itself spontaneously by generating activity similar to that while we are awake. It sends information to the cortex, which reacts in turn. This exchange is often followed by a period of silence called a 'delta wave' and then by a rhythmic activity called a 'sleep spindle'. This is when the cortical circuits reorganize to form stable memories. However, the role of delta waves in the formation of new memories is still a puzzle: why does a period of silence interrupt the sequence of information exchanges between the hippocampus and the cortex, and the functional reorganisation of the cortex?

The authors here looked more closely at what happens during delta waves themselves. They discovered, surprisingly, that the cortex is not entirely silent but that a few neurons remain active and form assemblies, i.e. small, coactive sets that code information. This unexpected observation suggests that the small number of neurons that activate when all the others stay quiet can carry out important calculations while protected from possible disturbances. And the discoveries from this work go even further! Spontaneous reactivations of the hippocampus determine which cortical neurons remain active during the delta waves and reveal the transmission of information between the two cerebral structures. In addition, the assemblies activated during the delta waves are formed of neurons that have participated in learning a spatial memory task during the day. Together these elements suggest that these processes are involved in memory consolidation. To demonstrate it, in rats the scientists caused artificial delta waves to isolate either neuron's associated with reactivations in the hippocampus or random neurons. Result: when the right neurons were isolated, the rats managed to stabilise their memories and succeed at the spatial test the next day.

These results substantially change how we understand the cortex. Delta waves are therefore a means of selectively isolating assemblies of chosen neurons, which send crucial information between the periods of hippocampal-cortical dialogue and the reorganisation of cortical circuits, to form long-term memories.

Story Source:

Materials provided by CNRSNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference: 

Ralitsa Todorova, Michaël Zugaro. Isolated cortical computations during delta waves support memory consolidationScience, 2019; 366 (6463): 377 DOI: 10.1126/science.aay0616

Cite This Page:

CNRS. "A new discovery: How our memories stabilize while we sleep." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2019. <>