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Rochester Medical Corporation

Sleep takes out brain's trash; buildup of refuse may make you sleepy

Sleep takes out brain's trash; buildup of refuse may make you sleepy

Among the many vital roles that sleep plays in our lives, our nightly rest may give us the chance to take out the cerebral trash, says a new study. No, we're not talking about some kind of Ambien-induced sleep-housework. We're talking about the process by which the brain refreshes itself by removing the buildup of mental metabolites such as beta-amyloid and tau -- the byproducts, if you will, of a day's cogitation. Left to fester on the sidewalks of our brains, these byproducts of everyday mental activity can gum up the works in a hurry. The hum of electrical signals across synapses slows, and neurons can give up and die in the foul environment of unmanaged neural trash....

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