Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing. It’s something we spend about a third of our lives doing, but, do any of us really understand its importance.
We are often happy to realize that the brain sorts through and stores information, replaces chemicals, and solves problems while you snooze. But this time, let’s understand what the backend process is!
Two thousand years ago, Galen, a prominent medical researcher of the ancient world, proposed that while we are awake, our brain’s motive force, its juice, would flow out to all the other parts of the body, leaving the brain all dried up. He thought when we sleep, all the moisture that hydrate the rest of the body would come rushing back rehydrating the brain and refreshing the mind.
He simply tried to explain that when we sleep it clears our mind and when you don’t sleep it leaves your mind murky. The brain uses a quarter of the body’s entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body’s mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.
According to recent research, it is found that sleep may actually be an elegant design solution to some of the brain’s most basic needs including rehydrating and cleaning it.
Now, just as every cell requires nutrients to fuel it, they also produce waste as by-product and the clearance of that waste is another important problem that each organ has to solve. Our body’s lymphatic system takes charge of this work. This system helps the body to get rid of the toxins and unwanted material from the body. But we must know there are no lymphatic vessels in the brain.
The brain is an intensely active organ that produces a large amount of waste which needs to be cleared off. Unlike other organs, the brain uses a different approach to efficiently clear off the wastes. The brain has this large pool of clean, clear liquid fluid called Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF). Interestingly this fluid and the waste from outside of the brain are pumped back into and through the brain clearing off the waste by-product along its way.
This unique function of the brain of waste clearance happens in sleeping brain. When we go to sleep the brain cells seem to shrink, opening up spaces between them allowing the fluid to rush through and waste to be cleared out. So, the waste accumulated inside the brain during the day while we are busy is cleared off when we sleep.
Now that you know why sleep is so important, make sure you give appropriate time to your brain to clean up itself. Whenever you feel tired give that machine a little break for rejuvenating itself!