Logo IMG
HOME > My Amsci > Restricted Access

Restricted Access The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and American Scientist subscribers.

If you are an active member or an individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article.

If you are not a member or individual subscriber, you can:


Figure 4. Memory goes through several stages...Click to Enlarge Image

Why do we sleep? Over the millenia people have concocted all kinds of answers to this puzzling question. Even today, scientists don’t have a comprehensive explanation. One hypothesis is that our brain needs sleep so that it can store information—or, as we usually say, memories. During the past decade, many research teams have accumulated neuroanatomical, behavioral and molecular data that supports this idea, known as "sleep-dependent memory processing." It turns out that specific rules govern the interactions of certain episodes of sleep and categories of memory. Walker explains this area of research, including his own seminal studies that capture snapshots of the working brain with fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and EEG (electroencephalograph) to see how the brain's circuitry physically adapts as a memory takes hold.

Connect With Us:


Subscribe to Free eNewsletters!

Read Past Issues on JSTOR

JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.

The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.

View the full collection here.

RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.

Write for American Scientist

Review our submission guidelines.

Subscribe to American Scientist