Pillows and people are always a lovely match, but there are plenty of other reasons why sleep is so important. Sleep restores, recharges, solves problems, processes emotions and memories leftover from the day, and quite literally, cleanses the brain. Bodies tend to unfold as they want to during sleep, but new research has found that it’s not just sleep that influences brain health, but also sleep position.
During sleep, the space between brain cells expands, allowing fluid to rapidly flow through the brain and wash away toxins that have built up in the central nervous system during waking hours.
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The efficient removal of waste products from the brain will reduce the risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers investigated how sleeping position affects the removal of toxins from the brain.
The study found that sleeping on the side was the most efficient way to cleanse the brain of waste, reducing the risk of neurological disease. Evolution might have given us a hand here – sleeping on the side is already the most popular way to sleep for humans and most animals, even in the wild.
The study was conducted on mice – not because researchers wanted to find the best sleep position for tiny four-legged ones with fur, but because of their biological and genetic similarity to humans.
Many types of dementia have been linked to sleep disturbances and difficulties falling asleep. The effective removal of brain waste seems to have an important role in protecting against such disorders. When toxins aren’t eliminated, the risk of memory loss, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases is increased. Sleep, and more specifically sleeping on your side, facilitates the removal of these harmful brain toxins.
Now … if only the opportunities for peaceful, happy zzz’s were as plenty as the reasons.