Despite evidence that waking is associated with net synaptic potentiation and sleep with depression, direct proof for changes in synaptic currents is lacking in large brain areas such as the cerebral cortex. By recording miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs) from frontal cortex slices of mice and rats that had been awake or asleep, we found that the frequency and amplitude of mEPSCs increased after waking and decreased after sleep, independent of time of day. Recovery sleep after deprivation also decreased mEPSCs, suggesting that sleep favors synaptic homeostasis. Since stronger synapses require more energy, space, and supplies, a generalized renormalization of synapses may be an important function of sleep.
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