We’ve reported that rats learn while they dream. People do too. But in at least one case, a sleeping pill woke someone up?in a BIG way.

Memorizing a series of facts is one thing, understanding the big picture is quite another. A new study demonstrates that the ability to make logical “big picture” inferences from disparate pieces of information is dependent on taking a break from studies and learning, and getting a good night’s sleep. However, the prescription sleeping pill Ambien had the opposite effect on one French woman, waking her up from a two-year coma.

In HealthDay, Jeffrey Perkel reports that after a brain injury, a 48-year-old woman was in a coma in which the she was alert but couldn’t speak nor move. Her doctors noticed she wasn?t sleeping, so the prescribed Ambien. Perkel writes, “Twenty minutes [after taking it], her family noticed surprising signs of enhanced arousal. She became able to communicate to her family, to eat without (swallowing) troubles, and to move alone in her bed. These effects?lasted for two to three hours.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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