New Study Shows Sleep Cleans Up the Brain

A new study has  found yet another way that sleep is important to our overall health. In addition to lowering the risk of obesity, heart disease and infections, getting enough sleep may also improve your memory.

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center studied the cerebrospinal fluid – the fluid around the brain and in the spine – of mice both while they were awake and when they were asleep. They injected the mice with dyed proteins so they could watch the proteins flow throughout the mice’s brains.

They found that during sleep, the protein was quickly swept out of the brain by the cerebrospinal fluid, but while awake, the fluid barely moved at all.

Upon further study, they discovered that during sleep, the space between brain cells increases by up to 60 percent. This increased space allows the cerebrospinal fluid to flow and rid the brain of toxic materials, such as the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders.

Getting enough sleep helps your brain stay healthy and rid itself of harmful materials, helping you stay sharp and reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s. It is important for adults to get at least seven uninterrupted hours of sleep each night as part of a healthy lifestyle. Having an established sleeping routine and a cool, dark place to sleep will help you get quality sleep.

If you are having issues sleeping, please speak to your physician.

-by Dr. Nancy Morewitz

About Dr. Morewitz – Dr. Morewitz works with the Bon Secours Neuroscience Center. She received her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine and a neurological residency at University of Kentucky College of Medicine. In addition, she earned a fellowship in EEG / Epilepsy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas.

Dr. Morewitz is a member of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Neurology and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She is board-certified in neurology and sleep medicine.

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