As you shut your eyes and go to sleep every night, you might also believe that all your senses and body parts are off to a sound rest. A recent study has, however, put to rest this age-old myth citing scientific evidence.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, have found that while you are asleep, the only body part that remains active is the ear. Don’t you sometimes wake up in the morning with a faint memory of what you felt or heard while asleep? While the ears are always on, the only reason why you do not remember what was exactly said is perhaps because of the brain, which rejects any external information received by the ear once you have dozed off.
The researchers carried out the study on preschool-age children while they were sleeping. “The type of environment in which children sleep has been a topic of conversation, especially in recent years,” said study co-author Adrienne Roman in a press release. “But there’s a big hole in the literature and the discussion about what goes on with preschool-age children, which was our jumping-off point.”
In the study, sleeping children were connected to a portable EEG machine and then three random words were played around them. The kids were again connected to the EEG machine as soon as they woke up and another series of words that also included the previously used random words were played. Their brains showed positive signs when they heard those specific words, revealing they were able to recognize the test sounds.
Talking about the research further, Roman said, “One goal of the research is to better understand how children’s brains develop and whether they’re still registering information while asleep. But it’s also good information to know the next time you’re discussing the snoozing kids—or adults—in the room: Their sleeping brains may still be registering what you’re saying. Now read these 20 obscure facts you never knew about your body.”