Essays on Science and SocietyEppendorf

Play It Again, Brain

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Science  01 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6158, pp. 574
DOI: 10.1126/science.1245966

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You did it last night, and you will do it again tonight. And you're not alone, because every living organism with a brain needs to do it: sleep. And, for something so critical to our well-being, it's remarkable that we don't understand why we need to sleep. We may feel our conscious mind shutting off for much of the night and think that our brain is resting, but our brain actually remains very active. And what our brain is doing when we sleep provides a hint about what many neuroscientists believe to be a fundamental role of sleep.