Image: Courtesy of Matthew Wilson, ©2002 Cell Press
 NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING, NOT EVEN A ... RAT that sleeps while the activity of hippocampal neurons, measured before its nap when the animal ran in a maze are behind it. Red depicts maze locations where the neuron was highly active; blue indicates where the neuron was not.

Most people require sleep to face tomorrow with a clear head. But clarity of mind may be just one reason why slumber is needed; a growing body of research suggests that sleep aids learning. It is a view not universally held, but supporting evidence appears to be growing. "We just don't know right now if it will turn out to be true. There is so much data coming out now," says Pierre Maquet, senior research associate, National Fund for Scientific Research, University of Liege, Belgium. "These data are coming from a wide...

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