Sleep refreshes your brain

There has been debate among medical professionals concerning why we actually need to sleep. It has been accepted that sleep rejuvenates the brain but the true purpose is not fully known. Scientists have studied sleep patterns in all types of animals, from flies to humans. Sleep is essential to consolidating memories and its major purpose may be to activate the brain’s cleaning crew. While it was previously accepted that your brain needed to rest and create memories, a recent study found that toxins built up from hours of wakefulness get cleared out of your brain during a night of rest.

A Danish study published in 2013 has increased the understanding of sleep and its effect on the brain. This groundbreaking study, conducted at the University of Michigan. Researchers were able to see fluid moving in a mouse’s brain to see how the toxins moved throughout the brain. They watched the fluid that surrounds the brain to see how it moved throughout the day and night. During the day, the neurons of the brain tend to swell and get larger so the toxins don’t filter as easily. While sleeping, the fluid moves around and reduces the swelling in the brain. The fluid is responsible for getting rid of toxic buildup and products in the brain.

The study has implications for understanding sleep and every person’s mental well-being. If a person does not get the right amount of sleep their cognitive performance is not as strong. Dr. Peter Todd from the University of Michigan says, “We’ve changed the way we have medical residents do their care. It used to be that doctors would stay up for 36 hours in a row taking care of patients. I can tell you from personal experience that the next day, after you haven’t slept all night, you’re simply not as smart…Our chances of making a significant error were much higher.” Americans sleep less than they used to even one or two generations ago. Understanding the impact of sleep on the functioning of the human brain will help people with strong concerns about their sleep or mental health.

A lifetime of sleep deprivation may lead to serious conditions. There is research being conducted on long-term issues like Alzheimer’s or dementia may lead us to understanding how these diseases develop. Up until now, Alzheimer’s has been linked to a protein and from the study conducted at the University of Michigan, there is evidence that your brain’s cleaning crew actually flushes high amounts of this protein out of your system.

If you are worried about your current quality of sleep, or want to know more about sleep’s ability to rejuvenate your brain, contact FusionSleep today. Our team of sleep doctors will help you find long-term solutions to this very serious concern.