It’s not the sex, drugs and rock’n roll that’s going to kill you, Keith Richards is proof of that. Surprisingly, the factor which is going to affect the longevity and quality of your life the most is sleep! That’s right, that thing you try to catch-up on. The thing you typically sacrifice first when you have a project which needs to get done. Those precious minutes you decide to keep your eyes open is the same thing which keeps them shut for forever. Think I’m being melodramatic?
In a new study by Maiken Nedergaard and colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York have shown sleep relaxes the channels in our brain which helps ‘wash out’ unwanted waste and proteins. Just like the lymphatic system clears out metabolic waste products from the rest of the body, this system transports waste-laden cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In the study, it showed channels moving the CSF grew 60% in size while mice slept. This allowed neurotoxins to be moved out of the brain quicker and with more efficiency. Here’s why this matters. Many neurological diseases from Alzheimer’s to stroke and dementia are associated with sleep disturbances. The study suggests that lack of sleep plays a role by allowing the byproducts to build up and cause brain damage.
As an added bonus to just feeling better when you sleep. Sleep has shown to help you shed fat (especially that pudge around the belly), fight off heart disease, maintain a clear mind, and optimize every function of your body. Sleep is essential for everyone from the elite athlete to the corporate warrior.
Originally published at medium.com