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The Nutrition InvestigatorThe health and nutrition blog by Dr. Roc Ordman.

Why we need sleep – Finally discovered the reason

by Roc (click here for full post)

Sleep allows your brain to be washed – My interest in sleep research began in the 1980s, but it was not until October 11 and 18 this year that it has been found why it is necessary. Mental fatigue, poor decision-making, impaired learning, and a heightened risk of migraine and epileptic attacks ensue when we are sleep deprived—and chronic and complete insomnia ultimately lead to death in humans, rats, and flies alike. During sleep, waste products of brain metabolism are removed from the interstitial space among brain cells where they accumulate. Sleep, therefore, might be required for potentially toxic metabolites—the very results of a working brain—to be cleared from the tissue. The interstitial space in the waking mouse brain is only 14% of brain volume, but increases by over 60% in natural sleep.  The consequence is remarkable: The flow of CSF through the interstitial space is reduced during waking to only 5% of the flow found in sleep. Science 18 October 2013: 342: 316-317

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