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Woman SleepingWhile the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

A new study, conducted by Dr. Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester, indicates that during sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours.  Scientists noticed that during sleep, the system that circulates cerebrospinal fluid through the brain and nervous system was “pumping fluid into the brain and removing fluid from the brain in a very rapid pace,” Dr. Nedergaard states.

The process is important because what’s getting washed away during sleep are waste proteins that are toxic to brain cells.  This could explain why we don’t think clearly after a sleepless night and why a prolonged lack of sleep can actually kill an animal or a person.

Clean out! and clear your head tonight by getting a good night’s sleep!