Washington, October 23: Practice makes perfect, but sleep helps, too. Learning and executing a new motor skill can be enhanced if you can get additional memory processing during sleep, according to a recent study led by researchers at Northwestern University.

The study was published in the journal JNeurosci. Also Read | Huawei Enjoy 20e Smartphone With MediaTek Helio P35 Launched; Prices, Features & Specifications.

Researchers compared how well participants performed a challenging motor task with and without the extra processing during sleep. Also Read | Virat Kohli Is Yet To Be Dismissed by Pakistan in T20 World Cups! Take a Look at Indian Captain's Knocks Against Arch-Rivals Ahead of IND vs PAK T20 World Cup 2021 Clash.

The participants played a computer game using a myoelectric computer interface, which enabled them to move a cursor by activating specific arm muscles. Each command to move the cursor in a particular direction was paired with a unique sound; after practicing, the participants played the game blindfolded and moved the cursor based on the sound cue alone.

After completing a test round, the participants took a 90-minute nap. The researchers played half of the sound cues during the nap, reactivating the motor memories associated with each cue.

After the nap, the participants performed the motions cued during sleep better than the uncued ones: it took less time to move the cursor, the cursor traveled a more direct route, and fewer superfluous muscles were activated.

These results show we can improve the performance of new motor skills by reactivating memories during sleep. This approach could be a way to enhance rehabilitation for stroke or other neurological disorders.

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