Sleep: The best “Detox” For Your Brain
When you go to sleep, something much deeper happens than closing your eyes. The brain, through the glymphatic system, eliminates toxins a deep cleaning process. This cleaning could be the key to avoiding mental illness or cognitive impairment. Let’s look more into these interesting findings by some scientists from the Rochester Medical Center in the United States.
Sleep is one of the great pleasures of life and a necessity. Resting well every night is essential to live, replenish energy and give your body a chance to heal. Several studies have highlighted how sleep is important for memory, stress management, heart health, diabetes control, weight control and a beautiful skin.
Scientists have spent many years analyzing what happens when we close our eyes and temporarily disconnect from this world. A very interesting finding is a group of researchers from the Rochester Medical Center in New York – they discovered that during sleep the space between brain cells increases. This would allow a washing mechanism in the brain to eliminate toxins that accumulate during the hours we stay up.
The study, published in the journal Science and conducted in mice, shows the existence of a brain cleaning system and evidences the change in the brain's cellular structure during sleep.
When we sleep, we activate a kind of hydraulic system, which controls the flow of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This system, as observed in the experiment, triggers during sleep to allow fluid to circulate rapidly in the brain.
The research was conducted in a group of rats who had a dye injected into the fluid in the brain cavity to see how it circulated in the brain. Simultaneously, they monitored the brain’s electrical activity. The authors were surprised to see the difference in dye circulation during sleep. Specifically, it was found that the liquid circulated rapidly during the sleep phase.
Likewise, brain monitoring showed that the space between brain cells increased by 60 percent when the rats slept.
Previous studies have suggested that toxic molecules that play a determining role in the development of degenerative disorders of the brain accumulate in the space between brain cells. Interested in knowing what the role of the glymphatic system is in this process, the researchers studied mice with Alzheimer's disease to measure how long it lasted in the brain while they were asleep and awake. It was observed that the protein disappeared quickly in the mice when they were asleep, which suggests that sleep cleans toxins from the brain while resting.These results open new doors to important findings about the development of neurological disorders. The cells that regulate the glymphatic system could be the center of attention when treating a wide variety of mental illnesses.