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Cleaning your brain while you sleep

Sweep away your mental mess with some quality shut-eye.

We all know that sleeping well makes us feel good and provides health benefits like more energy, lower stress and anxiety levels and stronger memory recall, but scientists may have found another reason why it’s so important to get a good night’s rest.

Through a series of studies of mice, researchers from the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brain cells shrink, allowing the cerebral spinal fluid in the brain to flow faster and flush out waste, which means the molecular debris that brain cells churn out during their daily working lives, as well as toxic proteins that can lead to dementia.

Clearly, humans are not mice, so can’t jump to conclusions yet – but the results do shed some light on the mechanics of what happens while we sleep, and with further validation and testing, could provide some clues to fighting dementia and other degenerative diseases. In any case, it’s as good a reason as any to try to hit the pillow a little early tonight.

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