A fascinating new study published this month in the journal, Science, suggests that the restorative function of sleep may be to remove toxins from the brain. The study examined the brains of mice during sleep and waking time. The study authors found that during sleep, the brain’s cells shrank. This led to greater space between them and allowed the fluids surrounding them to wash away accumulated beta-amyloid (the protein that accumulates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease). During waking time, the brain cells expanded which allowed for less fluid flow between and around the cells and accumulation of waste products. The study’s authors hypothesize that an important role of sleep may actually be to allow our brains to wash away the wastes of the day.
This may be another reason why sleep is so important to our overall health and well-being, and another good reason to get help if getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge for you. There are many effective holistic strategies to improve sleep including nutrition and lifestyle, herbal medicines, nutritional supplements, homeopathic medicines, and acupuncture. Schedule a free 15-minute Meet the Doctor visit to learn more about how holistic medicine can help you sleep better.
To read a great article that goes into further detail about the study discussed above, click here.