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The Importance of a Good Night's Sleep

August 20, 2015
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On average, people spend a third of their life sleeping. Sleeping has been known to clear the mind, rejuvenate the body, and keep the brain functioning properly and efficiently. However, people may not fully understand why this simple, routine task is so important to our everyday function and well being. A background understanding of the brain The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. In order for the human body to carry out even the most simple of tasks, each organ must have the proper nutrients and oxygen as well as a way to eliminate the excess waste from these nutrients to function properly. This is especially important for the brain. The circulatory system solves the nutrient delivery problem by sending blood vessels with nutrients to every corner of the body and allowing the waste to enter lymphatic tracks into blood vessels. However, the brain does not have the lymphatic vessels to help with this elimination process. Instead it uses Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) to pump out the waste and dump it into blood vessels. This is a specific process that is unique to the brain. The science of sleeping Miraculously, recent research shows that this process occurs more rapidly when the brain is sleeping. When awake, a person's brain is at its most busy while thinking and working. However, when a person falls asleep, his/her brain cells shrink and create space for fluid to run through more quickly, clearing the excess waste. What is this waste, and why should we sleep? The waste referred to above is a protein named amyloid beta. A build up of this amyloid beta is a leading factor and one of the reasons a person may develop Alzheimer's disease. Clearing this amyloid beta is much more rapid during sleep, and undoubtedly is a breakthrough discovery for the scientific community. In the video below, Jeff Iliff explains more thoroughly this unique process and provides insight into the importance of sleep. Learn more about this amazing phenomenon.
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