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Sleep has always been a way to refresh yourself, but a new study found that it's due to a process in your brain that clears away built up waste in your brain.
According to NBC News, this new study into understanding sleep could help figure out a way to treat issues like Alzheimer's.
Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center said, "We have a cleaning system that almost stops when we are awake and starts when we sleep. It's almost like opening and closing a faucet -- it's that dramatic."
The study discovered the brain clean-up system last year and have called it the glymphatic system. The system uses cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to essentially clean out your brain and sending the waste through the circulatory system before ending up in the liver. The CSF moves through spaces around brain cells, an area that increases by 60 percent during sleep, making it easier to clean.
"This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake," Nedergaard commented. "In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness."
Forbes reports that this could potentially help Alzheimer's' patients as scientists study further as the glymphatic system removes amyloid-beta, a toxic protein.
The study was done on mice since their brains are similar to humans. And when these mice were deprived of sleep, amyloid-beta significantly built up inside the brain.