Washington: Scientists claim to havecracked the secrets of a good night`s sleep -- as to why somecould sleep peacefully despite the noise of modern life whileothers stir at the sound of footsteps and cricket chirps.A team at Harvard Medical School claims that a sectionof the brain, known as thalamus, plays a key role in blockingout sound during sleep and it appears to be more effective incertain individuals.Normally brainwaves slow down during rest, but brainstill generates brief energy bursts called sleep spindles. Lead scientist Jeffrey Ellenbogen said: "The thalamusis likely preventing information from getting to areas of thebrain that react to sound. A sleep spindle is a marker of thisblockade. The more spindles your brain makes, the more likelyyou`ll stay asleep, even if confronted by noise."For the study, the scientists analysed 12 healthyvolunteers at a sleep clinic over the course of three nights.They were monitored each night using an electroencephalographwhich records the electrical activity of the brain.
Individuals with the highest rates of spindles onthe quiet night were less likely to be woken by noises on thesecond and third nights, and some were not even aware theirsleep had been disrupted, Ellenbogen said.PTI
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