Rock yourself to sleep for a peaceful nap and memory boost

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 25 (ANI): Ever noticed how rocking motion always works like magic when putting a small child to bed? Turns out it works just as effectively for adults as well. In fact, according to a recent study, rocking not only leads to better sleep, but it also boosts memory consolidation during sleep.

According to the researchers, having a good night’s sleep means falling asleep rapidly and then staying asleep during the whole night.

Speaking about the study, Laurence Bayer, lead author of the research said, “Our volunteers — even if they were all good sleepers — fell asleep more rapidly when rocked and had longer periods of deeper sleep associated with fewer arousals during the night. We thus show that rocking is good for sleep.”

The researchers enlisted 18 healthy young adults to undergo sleep monitoring
in the lab. The first night was intended to get them used to sleeping there. The participants stayed two more nights — one sleeping on a gently rocking bed and the other sleeping on an identical bed that wasn’t moving.

The data showed that participants fell asleep faster while rocking. Once asleep, they also spent more time in non-rapid eye movement sleep, slept more deeply, and woke up less. Findings of the study were published in the Journal of Current Biology.

Next, the researchers wanted to know how better sleep influenced memory. To assess memory consolidation, participants studied word pairs. The researchers then measured their accuracy in recalling those paired words once before they went to sleep and the next morning when they woke up. They found that people did better on the morning test when they were rocked during sleep.

Further studies showed that rocking affects brain oscillations during sleep. They saw that the rocking motion caused entrainment of specific brain oscillations of non-rapid eye movement sleep.

As a result, the continuous rocking motion helped to synchronise neural activity in the thalamo-cortical networks of the brain, which play an important role in both sleep and memory consolidation. (ANI)