Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning to play the piano? Sleep on it!

Date:
August 21, 2014
Source:
Universite de Montreal
Summary:
According to new research the regions of the brain below the cortex play an important role as we train our bodies’ movements and, critically, they interact more effectively after a night of sleep. While researchers knew that sleep helped us the learn sequences of movements (motor learning), it was not known why.

Learning to play the piano? Sleep on it!
Credit: © happysunstock / Fotolia

According to researchers at the University of Montreal, the regions of the brain below the cortex play an important role as we train our bodies' movements and, critically, they interact more effectively after a night of sleep. While researchers knew that sleep helped us the learn sequences of movements (motor learning), it was not known why.

Related Articles


"The subcortical regions are important in information consolidation, especially information linked to a motor memory trace. When consolidation level is measured after a period of sleep, the brain network of these areas functions with greater synchrony, that is, we observe that communication between the various regions of this network is better optimized. The opposite is true when there has been no period of sleep," said Karen Debas, neuropsychologist at the University of Montreal and leader author of the study. A network refers to multiple brain areas that are activated simultaneously.

To achieve these results, the researchers, led by Dr. Julien Doyon, Scientific Director of the Functional Neuroimaging Unit of the Institut universitaire de gιriatrie de Montrιal Research Centre, taught a group of subjects a new sequence of piano-type finger movements on a box. The brains of the subjects were observed using functional magnetic resonance imaging during their performance of the task before and after a period of sleep. Meanwhile, the same test was performed by a control group at the beginning and end of the day, without a period of sleep.

The researchers had already shown that the putamen, a central part of the brain, was more active in subjects who had slept. Furthermore, they had observed improved performance of the task after a night of sleep and not the simple passage of daytime. Using a brain connectivity analysis technique, which identifies brain networks and measures their integration levels, they found that one network emerged from the others -- the cortico-striatal network -- composed of cortical and subcortical areas, including the putaman and associated cortical regions. "After a night of sleep, we found that this network was more integrated than the others, that is, interaction among these regions was greater when consolidation had occurred. A night of sleep seems to provide active protection of this network, which the passage of daytime does not provide. Moreover, only a night of sleep results in better performance of the task," Debas said.

These results provide insight into the role of sleep in learning motor skills requiring new movement sequences and reveal, for the first time, greater interaction within the cortico-striatal system after a consolidation phase following sleep. "Our findings open the door to other research opportunities, which could lead us to better understand the mechanisms that take place during sleep and ensure better interaction between key regions of the brain. Indeed, several other studies in my laboratory are examining the role of sleep spindles -- brief physiological events during non-rapid eye movement sleep -- in the process of motor memory trace consolidation," Doyon said. "Ultimately, we believe that we will better be able to explain and act on memory difficulties presented by certain clinical populations who have sleeping problems and help patients who are relearning motor sequences in rehabilitation centres," Debas said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universite de Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karen Debas, Julie Carrier, Marc Barakat, Guillaume Marrelec, Pierre Bellec, Abdallah Hadj Tahar, Avi Karni, Leslie G. Ungerleider, Habib Benali, Julien Doyon. Off-line consolidation of motor sequence learning results in greater integration within a cortico-striatal functional network. NeuroImage, 2014; 99: 50 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.05.022

Cite This Page:

Universite de Montreal. "Learning to play the piano? Sleep on it!." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140821101536.htm>.
Universite de Montreal. (2014, August 21). Learning to play the piano? Sleep on it!. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140821101536.htm
Universite de Montreal. "Learning to play the piano? Sleep on it!." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140821101536.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) — Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) — Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins