A Healthy Benefit of Sleep On The Brain

Sleep is something mysterious, and not fully understood even by scientists. But one thing’s for sure: it is something essential in our lives. It has a crucial role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions.

Sleep has many great benefits in the body, especially in the brain. This is just one of the many benefits of sleep in the brain: it organizes the flow of fluids that can wash away build-ups of proteins as well as wastes around neurons.

When you sink into a deep sleep, a cycle of activity starts behind your closed eyelids. First, a slow electrical wave pulses through the brain. A few seconds later, the amount of blood within the brain drops. Then a wave of cerebrospinal fluid reverses its usual direction of flow and moves upward through large cavities in the lower and central portions of the brain. The pattern repeats about three times a minute for the duration of non-REM sleep, the typically dreamless phases when your eyes remain still.
In a recent study, researchers observed the rhythmic sequence uniting these three phenomena in humans for the first time and found the causal links between them. Their finding clarifies how sleep may protect the brain’s well-being by driving elements of an obscure “plumbing system” found in the brain only a few years ago.

In the near future, this newly discovered mechanism might be the basis for new treatments to prevent cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease as well as other conditions.

More about this study over at Quanta Magazine.

(Image Credit: ColiN00B/ Pixabay)

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