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How sleep cleans your brain

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We all love a good night’s sleep and nothing feels better than feeling rested and pumped for the day. We know that sleep is important for us too and now new research could show just how important sleep is!

When we sleep, we go through several phases starting with light, then deep then REM (Rapid Eye Movement) which many of us are familiar with. Until now, not much research has been done on the deep sleep phase. And what this research reveals is very interesting indeed! Turns out, that essentially, our spinal fluid goes into our brain and cleans out the toxins that get into our brains during the day!

The research was conducted by Dr. Laura Lewis of Boston University and her research was released in the journal Science on October 31st. Dr. Lewis studies deep sleep or the non-REM phase. Research believes that during the non-REM phase, the deepest part of our sleep, that this is when our memories are stored. Scientists also know that those nasty things called beta amyloid which contribute to Alzheimers are swept away along with other bad neurotoxins.

Dr. Lewis and her team designed a study to help them understand what was happening in the brain during sleep as she suspected cerebrospinal fluid played a role. She was right. For the study, they had people sleep in an MRI while also having an EEG cap to monitor electrical activity.

What the research showed was that during this deep phase of sleep, our brain needs less blood, so the cerebrospinal fluid gets pumped into our brain and clears away the beta amyloid and other metabolic byproducts.

So what does this mean for sleep?

It’s quite an astounding breakthrough and could help us find ways to improve the health of our brain, including fighting Alzheimers. A lot of drugs tested to treat Alzheimers have failed to deliver results and this option may open some new avenues.

So, tonight when you go to sleep, remember that you’re being brainwashed and it’s a good thing!

More inspiration: You might also like this article on which vitamins are best for your brain!

Author: Giles Crouch is group publisher with Optimyz and a design anthropologist. He writes extensively mostly on the intersection of humans and technology.


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