Why do we sleep? According to Aric Prather, “Not only is sleep good for your well-being, it appears to start that dishwasher in your brain”:
In a recent study, researchers used mice to understand how sleep affects the ability of the brain to “wash away” the toxins from the day. Essentially, waste materials accumulate in the brain as byproducts of everyday brain activity. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which bathes the brain, gathers up these waste products and flushes them out of the system.
How does this happen? Well, there is space between brain cells, known as the interstitial space. It is in this space that CSF interacts with interstitial fluid (ISF) to remove these unwanted byproducts. The larger the interstitial space, the better able CSF interacts with this ISF – and with that you get better, more effective brain cleaning.
The researchers used sophisticated measures of diffusion and imaging to see how this process differed in…
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