How Sleep ‘Cleanses’ Your Brain and Helps Lower Your Dementia Risk

2020/08/17 18:17

Today's Vocabulary

1.consensus (n) 
a generally accepted opinion or decision among a group 

2. ward off (phr. v)  
to prevent someone or something unpleasant from harming or coming close
to you

3. dementia (n) 
a medical condition that affects especially old people, causing the memory and other mental abilities
to gradually become worse, and leading to confused behaviour 

4. spike (v) 
to push a sharp point into something or someone


5. precursor (n) 
something that happened or existed
before another thing, especially  if it either developed into it or had an influence on it

6. sleep apnea (n) 
a medical condition
in which someone stops breathing for a short time when sleeping 

How Sleep ‘Cleanses’ Your Brain and Helps Lower Your Dementia Risk

Sleep is a time for resting… or is it?

Research from Boston University describes our brains as engaging in a “cleansing flood” while we sleep that helps ward off diseases such as dementia.

This research builds on previous findings that have shown our brains are working rather than resting during sleep.

The exact process taking place involves our glymphatic system, a waste clearance system for our central nervous system.While we’re awake, precursor proteins called amyloid-betas spike and accumulate in our brain.

During our sleeping hours, our brain flushes these amyloid-betas, preventing them from forming into plaque and damaging our neurons.

Without adequate sleep, our brain can’t effectively wash away these precursor proteins.Their accumulation has been associated with a higher risk of dementia due to the damaged neurons.

“Poor sleep makes the glymphatic system less efficient,”Dr. Alon Y. Avidan said. “These proteins are toxic to the cell, to the neuron, and their accumulation leads to inflammation and degeneration of those neurons in the brain that over time contribute to Alzheimer’s dementia.”

“Evidence is building that sleep disturbances — like or disruptions in sleeping patterns — may increase risk of later life Alzheimer’s and dementia, or may even be an early sign of these diseases,” said Heather Snyder, PhD, the Alzheimer’s Association vice president of medical and scientific operations.

“For people over 18, sleep quantity must be and has to be between 7 and 8 hours on a regular basis. This is the consensus recommendation for good health.”


  1. How many hours of sleep should a person get each day? Does everybody need about the same amount?
  2. Do you get enough sleep? If not, what stops you from sleeping enough?

“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

Dr. Seuss

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”

Mahatma Gandhi