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Why we sleep, and the processes behind sleep, are amongst the most interesting questions in modern neuroscience.

Sleeping woman in bed

Researchers at the University of Oxford have now uncovered a new target for sleep investigations within the mammalian brain – the cerebral cortex. The paper was published today in Nature Neuroscience.

The cerebral cortex makes up about 80% of the brain’s volume and is responsible for many complex phenomena, including perception, thought, language, attention and memory. While activity in the cortex is normally used in sleep studies to record sleep/awake patterns, the latest study from Oxford has found that processes within the cortex itself may actually be responsible for sleep control, such as how long to sleep for and how deeply to sleep.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website

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