Want to Clear Your Brain?
Everyone does. We suggest getting some good ol' shut eye.
In case you needed more reasons to get some sleep, researchers announced in the journal Science that major changes occur in the brain while we sleep to flush out waste products linked to Alzheimer's and dementia.
This study not only offers an explanation as to why we spend a third of our lives asleep, but could also aid in treating neurological disorders. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found in lab mice how cellular waste was flushed out via the brain's blood vessels into the body's circulatory system and eventually the liver. The waste products included amyloid beta, a protein that is a driver of Alzheimer's disease.
The study also revealed that the brain’s cells shrink about 60% while we sleep to wash away the cellular garbage, allowing the fluid to move faster and more freely through the brain.
"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal," said lead author Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center. "You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."
Perhaps the study also explains why we need so much sleep after a night of binge drinking.