Ride the Sound Wave for Better Sleep and Memory


Tuck in for technology that may prevent memory loss through deep sleep. A new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience out of Northwestern University has found that gentle sound stimulation played in sync with older adults’ brain waves during sleep enhanced deep sleep and memory.

“This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health. This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-memory decline,” said Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist.

Sleep Tight

Northwestern scientists analyzed the memory and brain waves of 13 participants over the age of 60—an age group more likely to suffer memory-wise from lack of deep sleep—using an approach that read participant brain waves in real time to coordinate sound stimulation to precise moments of neuron communication.

Participants slept one night each with acoustic and sham stimulation (in which no noise is heard during sleep) with corresponding memory tests before and after sleep. Average improvement of recall ability was three times greater after the stimulation, compared to general improvement after the sham stimulation.

The positive results from the study may lead to larger-scale studies with repeated nights of sound stimulation in order to allow the method to be used at home.

Read more about the study at scienceblog.com.

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