Sleep & Oxygen Blog
As humans we spend close to one-third of our lives sleeping – so why don’t we know more about what actually happens during this time and how it affect our brains? 1
Scientists have known for quite some time that
“sleep is essential for forming and consolidating memories, hormone secretion, and that it plays a central role in the formation of new neuronal connections and the pruning of old ones.” 1
However, a recent study funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) has shown that sleep may actually change the molecular structure of our brains and play a very crucial role in cleansing the brain of toxic molecules. 2
Like all organs, our brain produces waste. However, it doesn’t have the same lymphatic system as others, which would help to clear and filter the toxins out. Using mice to study how the brain functions during sleep, scientists were able to determine that the brain rapidly pumps fluid along the outside of its vessels during sleep, essentially washing the toxins away that accumulated while awake. 3
As brain science progresses and we begin to understand more about the function of this complex organ while we sleep, the more insight and understanding of serious neurological conditions like dementia and alzheimer’s we may have.
What we do know for sure is that getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night is important for our overall health and wellbeing. So, turn on your CPAP machine and enjoy your sleep!