Why do we need sleep?

Before 2013, we didn’t really know the answer to this question.

We knew that our brains and bodies work better after sleep. But what we didn’t know, until now, was why.

Scientists report the first major mechanical reason our brains need to sleep in Science (Xie et al., 2013) — certain cleaning mechanisms in the brain work better when we shut the brain down. Similar to how dump trucks drive around pre-dawn hours because there’s less traffic, our brain’s cleaners also work best when there’s less going on.

scientists-have-finally-found-the-first-real-reason-we-need-to-sleep

We feel restored after sleep because of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness. In brain tissue during sleep, cerebrospinal fluid flushes out toxic proteins that build up during the day, including the kind that are responsible for neurodegenerative diseases (*blue channels in the picture).

Also, our brains consolidate memories during sleep. For our bodies, sleep allows our muscles, bones, and organs to repair and keeps our immune system healthy.

For the full article by Xie et al. Science 2013 – HERE

… All the more reason to get some shut-eye! much love.

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5 thoughts on “Why do we need sleep?

  1. Reblogged this on peakmemory and commented:
    From the paper’s abstract: “the restorative function of sleep may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system.”

  2. Pingback: Sleep in Parkinson’s disease | Kaitlyn Roland

  3. Pingback: Yoga for sleep | Kaitlyn Roland

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