In this episode we talk to Professor Manuel Schabus and Professor Kerstin Hoedlmoser from the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Salzburg.
In this episode, we discuss their work on the development of sleep-in babies, first discussing what baby sleep is like and how it differs from older children and adults in regard to activity and sleep stages and specifically sleep spindles and why we think this is. We also look at the difficulties of recording sleep in babies and what other methods are used to analyse and assess baby sleep.
We then look in depth at the development on sleep spindles in babies and go on to discuss the difference between fast and slow spindles and their hypothesised importance in connection with memory consolidation and learning.
We also discuss the importance of coupling activity and synchrony in the brain, specifically sleep spindles and slow oscillations and how these synchronise as we grow and develop and why this synchrony is important for memory and cognitive function.
If you'd like to find out more about Manuel's work you can find a link to his research page here and a link to Kerstin's research page here.
Here are links to some of the studies mentioned in the podcast:
o Fast and slow spindles and their connection to cognitive and memory function
o Coupling of slow oscillations and sleep spindles and motor learning
o Coupling of slow oscillations and sleep spindles and memory
Glossary of terms
Sleep Spindle - These are a burst of neural activity which usually occur during stage 2 non-REM sleep.
(Synaptic) Pruning - The natural removal of extra synaptic connections between neurons which occurs between childhood and adulthood.
Declarative learning - A type of learning about knowledge which we can talk about e.g dates, facts, events. Episodic memory and semantic memory are types of declarative learning.
Alpha Activity - A pattern of electric actvity in the brain, alpha activity predominately occurs during rest with a frequency between 9-11Hz.
Episode produced by Sophie Smith & Bianca Strete