Does sleep cleanse the brain of toxins?

A good night’s sleep can literally clear a person’s head.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have searched for an answer to the question of why people sleep and how this affects the brain.

More recently, for example, scientists have found that sleep is essential for preserving memories.

In a new study funded by the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders, scientists unexpectedly discovered that sleep may also be the time whenthe brain is cleared of toxic molecules.

Although the scientists’ conclusions were based on animal studies, this amazing study, published in the journal Science, showed for the first time that the space between neurons can increase during sleep, which provides an opportunity for the brain to cleanse the toxins that accumulate during the waking state.

Based on these results, scientists can safely assume that sleep is extremely important to maintaining good health.

How does the brain cleanse itself of toxins?

The authors of the study indicate that sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain and it looks completely different.

A special type of brain cells called glial cells or glia regulate the flow of fluid through the glymphatic system (GS) by swelling and contracting.

Noradrenaline is an excitatory hormone that is also known to control cell volume. But when we sleep, the levels of this hormone decrease, whichensures the implementation of essential changes.

Scientists have found that during sleep, the ‘plumbing’ system, called the glymphatic system, most likely opens up, allowing fluid to enter the brain quickly from it.

The glymphatic system helps regulate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

The entry of HS into the brain also helps to clear toxins, some of which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases.

To facilitate the flushing process, scientists have found that when we are asleep, the space between the brain cells increases dramatically.

For example, in the study conducted, this space in mice increased by 60% when they were asleep or sedated.

Cleaning is extremely energy-intensive, so scientists suggest that the brain has to make a choice when is the best time to carry out this process.

According to the authors of the study, the brain has a limited amount of energy and appears to have to make this choice between two different functional states – awake and aware or asleep and purging.

The scientists who conducted the study make the interesting comparison by imagining the brain as a party house.

We can entertain the guests or clean it but we are not able to do both at the same time.

Why is this so important?

The results of previous scientific studies show that toxic molecules associated with neurodegenerative diseases accumulate in the space between brain cells.

In the study described above, for example, scientists found that beta-amyloid, a protein that can accumulate in the brain and is associated with Alzheimer’s disease, because its levels are elevated between 100 and 1000 times in the peoplesuffering from this disease.

But this protein is cleared from the brain tissue when the mice are rested. This suggests that sleep is usually the reason for the removal of toxic molecules from the brain.

The results of the research conducted by American scientists underline the importance of sleep for human health. We need sleep, because through it we create conditions for cleansing the brain.

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