Ten Good Reasons Why You Should Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on December 5, 2013

Sleep is an evolutionary paradox. In pre-historic times, periods of sleep would have been windows of opportunity for predators and periods of susceptibility to dangerous natural calamities. The chances of losing life for early humans during sleep must have been very very high. Yet sleep has persisted throughout evolution in practically all animals — why?

Recent research on mammalian sleep has shed some light on its role in maintaining a state of health.

Sleep deprivation hampers the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus — a part of the brain which regulates memory as well as emotional responses to external stimuli. Neuronal precursor cells in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus divide to produce new neurons. This process is hampered by extra periods of wakefulness. Disturbance of REM sleep and fragmentation of sleep are factors that can inhibit the proliferation of neurons. The current opinion is that extended periods of wakefulness, rather than absence of sleep dependent biochemical processes, can result in impaired neuron growth.

Recent studies indicate that sleep is a period of “housekeeping” for the brain. Clearance of toxic metabolites such as the beta-amyloid peptide is enhanced during periods of sleep. The intercellular gaps between neurons increase during periods of sleep. Increased flux of cerebrospinal fluids through these channels (recently christened the ‘glymphatic system’) facilitates clearance of metabolites and toxins, such as the beta-amyloid peptide, from neurons during sleep. This is a significant discovery that provides an explanation for the association between poor sleep and development of AD.

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Category(s):Sleep Disorders

Source material from Brain Blogger