Does Your Brain Wash Itself? – Brainy Mondays

portrait-of-a-woman-1786435_640YES, your brain actually washes itself each night! It does this in similar fashion as a dishwasher. This nightly washing cycle is necessary because during the day when the brain is extremely active toxins and waste products build up between cells but cannot be cleared out immediately. The washing itself is accomplished via a dramatic increase in cerebrospinal fluid being moved around the brain during sleep.

The fastest way to physically damage your brain in a lasting manner, is depriving yourself of sleep regularly. Sleep debt cannot be made up by sleeping longer at a later point in time. A human brain needs 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. The loss of cognitive function you feel after having had no or very little sleep the night before, is no laughing matter. Remember, everything you do (and don’t do) actually physically changes your brain. Lack of sleep and sleeping disorders are linked to depression, many other mental illnesses, and Alzheimers.

The fascinating fact, that the brain needs to wash itself to clean out toxins that will otherwise lead to cell death may be the explanation why animals (including human animals) need sleep to survive.

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