[Editor’s Note: Sleep, though a relatively new topic in the modern scientific specialty, is an important issue in the Islamic literature, and has been discussed in many instances in both the noble Qur’an and the Prophetic Sunnah.]
” And of His signs is your sleep by night and day and your seeking of His bounty. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen “ (Qur’an 30: 23)
“And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep [a means for] rest…” (Qur’an 25: 47)]
Beauty Sleep: Inside and out; Sleeping flushes out toxins from your brain – reveals a study.
Once seen a waste of time considering we spend one-third of our lives sleeping, scientists have been trying to wrap their heads around this activity or lack of it. Over the years, a lot of revelations were trying to give sleep a purpose.
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Studies have attributed sleep to various activities and benefits ranging from increasing concentration to regulating metabolism, healthy skin, boosting alertness and the immune system.
A study has revealed another benefit of what they call the ‘first direct experimental evidence at the molecular level’ directing that this could be a breakthrough in revealing the core purpose of sleep, that could put the age-old adage of beauty sleep to shame; sleeping flushes out all the harmful toxins or metabolic by-products that have built up in the brain due to a day’s activity.
According to a research funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the American National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that cells in the brain, namely Glial Cells which are responsible to keep nerve cells alive, shrink during sleep to increase the interstitial space or gaps between neurons and allowing the flow of fluid and enabling the brain to flush out toxins that build up during the time one is awake.
Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a leader of the study unexpectedly found out that sleeping allows the brain to clean itself of toxic molecules accumulated during the day thus suggesting that failing to cleanse some toxic proteins may also play a role in brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Although the results were deduced with high tech imaging on mice; the human brain is similar to that of a mouse. The imaging disclosed that the brain rids itself of accumulated toxic molecules at a much faster rate than while awake.
The researchers discovered that during sleep, the contraction of brain cells results in the expanding of the areas between brain cells by as much as 60 percent thus enabling the Cerebrospinal Fluid to move more freely than its usual state.
Comparing the results during sleep to “turning on a faucet,” Nedergaard says,” it appears that a sleep state is necessary for this “active clearance of the by-products of neural activity” to take place. This would offer a convincing explanation of why sleep has such an essential restorative function, she saysPages: 1 2