We sleep to clear our brains of thinking, study proves
Study proves why lack of sleep may be cause for brain disorders
A team at the University of Rochester Medical Center believe that human beings sleep in order to clear their brains of toxins while awake. This research groups says that such "housework" may be one of the primary reasons for sleep.
One big question for sleep researchers is why do animals sleep at all when it leaves them vulnerable to predators?
"The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must choose between two different functional states - awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up," researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard says.
"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."
This coincides with a similar medical discovery made last year about The brain's own network of plumbing pipes, known as the glymphatic system - which carry waste material out of the brain. Imaging the brains of mice, research proved that the glymphatic system became 10-times more active when the mice were asleep.
The glial cells, researchers theorize, which keep nerve cells alive, shrink during sleep, increasing the size of the interstitial space, the gaps between brain tissue, allowing more fluid to be pumped in and wash the toxins away.
This is a "vital" function for life, which doesn't appear to be possible while the mind was awake.
"This is purely speculation, but it looks like the brain is losing a lot of energy when pumping water across the brain and that is probably incompatible with processing information," Nedergaard says.
The true significance of the findings would be known only after human studies, but doing similar experiments in an MRI machine would be relatively easy.
"This is a very interesting study that shows sleep is essential downtime to do some housekeeping to flush out neurotoxins," fellow sleep researcher Dr Neil Stanley says.
"There is good data on memory and learning, the psychological reason for sleep. But this is the actual physical and chemical reason for sleep, something is happening which is important."
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Exercise reduces chances of dementia, lengthy study concludes
- Obamacare crashing in model states like California as 70 percent of doctors opt out
- New hepatitis-C drug approved by FDA
- Donors from around the world say that an AIDS-free generation may be within sight
- Washington signing up more people for Medicaid than private plans
- Man documents ravages of diabetes to his feet as they decay within 10 DAYS
- Dementia epidemic only growing worse: 135 million sufferers could arrive by 2050
- Men are from Mars, Women from Venus? Their brains are certainly wired differently
- Drinking water from plastic cups, bottles may be causing migraine headaches
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?