In several of these blogs, we have talked about the lack of getting enough “good “sleep. The results of not having this include tiredness the next day, irritability, not being exactly “with it,” excessive yawning. Things like that. Now it has been suggested that during sleep, the neurons fire backward not forward. So instead of the firing taking place in the axon and sent to the dendrite and then to another axon, the process is reversed.

The brain is mostly closed for business for sensory input during sleep. However, evidence suggests that during sleep, neurons are controlled by electrical impulses that ripple through the brain like waves. In 2011, researchers found that these waves of electricity cause neurons in the hippocampus, the main brain area involved with memory, to fire backward during sleep, sending an electrical signal from their axons to their own dendrites rather than to other cells.

Why? Fields and Bukalo in their study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences USA thinks that firing backward helps to strengthen the electrical signals of neighboring cells necessary to solidify memories as well as freeing up space in the  brain to store new memories on waking.

So do those of us with sleeping issues have more difficulty storing new memories? Can this be a cause of dementia? It seems the more we learn, the more questions we have.