Have you ever wondered why or even whether you needed to sleep? Most of us recognize that good sleep makes for better days, not only from a cognitive standpoint but also from a physical one. But what’s really going on while we are snoozing, and what would happen if we didn’t? Recent research has provided a few answers to this question, and you may find the science behind sleep a little surprising.
This may seem like a strange phrase, but it really is something that’s created inside your cranium. A day worth of brain power, with all its computations, decisions, muscular controls, and involuntary actions, has a by-product much like the garbage in a major city. There are toxins created throughout the day, and there has to be a way for the body’s systems to clean it all up.
All In the Timing
To continue the big-city analogy, a garbage truck can get through the streets a lot easier when there is no one else on the streets. It’s the same with the brain. When all the circuits are busy and crowded during the regular flow of daily activity, it is slow going for the garbage to be picked up. It seems the cleansing of toxins from the brain operates 10 times faster during sleep than it does during waking hours. Interestingly, it seems animals with larger brains need less sleep than those with small brains. Why? Because larger brains have more toxin-storage capacity and thus can go longer between cleaning sessions.
How It Works
The process of removing toxins from the brain is pretty complicated, but here is the basic idea: The brain has its own circulatory system, one that doesn’t mix with the rest of the body. After the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain cleans out the trash of the day using special channels, it transfers it to body’s general circulatory system so that the liver can remove the toxins. This system works much more quickly during sleep, research in mice has indicated.
The removal of this brain detritus may be crucial to preventing brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In fact, it may be that a buildup of these toxins is what triggers us to be sleepy in the first place. Our bodies know when it’s time for a “brainwash.”
Sleep has always been a vital part of our survival as humans, but until recently we’ve never known why definitively. Now that we know, we can open a new door into understanding how this process works and what will happen if it ever malfunctions. If an uncomfortable mattress is your issue, Mattress.com has sales on top quality mattresses daily.