You may be damaging your brain if you don’t sleep enough
A recent Science paper has suggested that “the brain’s unique method of waste removal — dubbed the glymphatic system — is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.”
“Many neurological diseases — from Alzheimer’s disease to stroke and dementia — are associated with sleep disturbances, Nedergaard [the paper’s lead investigator] notes. The study suggests that lack of sleep could have a causal role, by allowing the byproducts to build up and cause brain damage. ‘This could open a lot of debate for shift workers, who work during the nighttime,” Nedergaard predicts. “You probably develop damage if you don’t get your sleep.’
“The timely removal of waste from the brain is essential where the unchecked accumulation of toxic proteins such as amyloid-beta can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, almost every neurodegenerative disease is associated with the accumulation of cellular waste products.
“These findings have significant implications for treating ‘dirty brain’ disease like Alzheimer’s,’ said Nedergaard. ‘Understanding precisely how and when the brain activates the glymphatic system and clears waste is a critical first step in efforts to potentially modulate this system and make it work more efficiently.’”
The conservation of sleep across all animal species suggests that sleep serves a vital function. We here report that…www.sciencemag.org