Parts of the brain can switch off for a quick snooze even while the rest of the body and mind is awake, researchers have found.
The study, published in Nature magazine, found that parts of the brain in rats occasionally went into sleep mode while the rat was obviously awake.
“Call it a cortical blink — just a brief shutdown of a piece of cortex that can disrupt neural processing,” David McCormick, a neurobiologist at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was quoted as saying.
The pockets of brain inactivity occurred more frequently if the rat had been kept awake a long time and impaired its ability to reaching a sugar pellet through a slot in its cage.
The findings could help explain moments of absent-mindedness and impaired judgement in humans.Read more at Nature