August 9th, 2010
12:00 PM ET
Why some people can sleep through anything
Everyone, even the lightest sleeper, is less aware of noise while they sleep. So what helps us in blocking the outside world when we need to re-juice? And what makes some people deeper sleepers than others?
Dr. Jeff Ellenbogen, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Sleep Medicine, led a study looking at particular brain waves called sleep spindles. How many spindles a person’s mind cranks out while sleeping predicts how deep he or she sleeps while bombarded with noise, his study in Current Biology found.
While sleeping, a person’s brain waves become slower and more regular. Sporadically, the brain has bursts of higher-frequency waves called sleep spindles. These bursts, which occur only when a person is sleeping, were dubbed “spindles” because they look like rolls of yarn on an electroencephalograph (EEG), which measures the electronic activity fired by neurons in the brain.
In the experiment, Ellenbogen studied healthy volunteers placed in a sleep laboratory for three consecutive nights. On the first night, participants could blissfully rest in a lofty queen-size bed and fresh, soft sheets without interruption. Ellenbogen and colleagues measured their brain rhythms and noted how often spindles occurred.
The second and third night, the researchers placed a speaker behind the sleepers and played everyday noises, such as alarm clocks or toilets flushing, at varying volumes and noted how loud a noise had to be before arousing each person. According to the study, those with higher spindle rates on the quiet night were more stable sleepers on the noisier nights.
As a person ages, he or she produces fewer spindles and is more sensitive to noises while sleeping. This could explain why people don’t sleep as well after getting older, Ellenbogen said.
Researchers have also found a correlation between spindle rate and learning potential. One study released in 2007 found that the more spindles pumped out while sleeping, the higher the person’s performance IQ was. The more spindles a person produces while they sleep, the better a person consolidates memories, Ellenbogen’s study report cites.
Long-term, Ellenbogen hopes to find natural ways to enhance sleep and all its benefits. We can’t always be in a quiet environment while getting some shut-eye, so he wants to help people make the best of their rest.
He wants to figure out whether sleeping drugs really catalyze genuine sleep or just a sleep-like state, and believes this link between spindles and deeper sleeping will be a tool in doing so.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
I love looking through an article that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!
Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this website before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Regardless, Iím definitely delighted I came across it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back often!
Hello, I think your web site might be having browser compatibility problems. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!
You need to take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the web. I'm going to recommend this site!
An interesting discussion is worth comment. I do think that you ought to publish more about this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but usually people do not discuss such topics. To the next! Cheers!!
May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who truly understands what they're talking about online. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people should read this and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you're not more popular because you definitely possess the gift.
Right here is the perfect site for anybody who would like to understand this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!
Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Hello there! This article couldnít be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I'll send this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!
This excellent website definitely has all of the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.
Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I most certainly will forward this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!
Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.
That is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
Great info. Lucky me I recently found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!
Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Many thanks for providing these details.
This is a topic that's close to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the website is very good.
This is the right web site for everyone who hopes to understand this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just excellent!
I like it whenever people come together and share thoughts. Great website, stick with it!
Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.
I used to be able to find good information from your content.
hcqs tablet https://www.pharmaceptica.com/
I quite like reading through a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!
I like reading through an article that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the site is really good.
I really love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you develop this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím trying to create my own blog and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!