Friday, November 22, 2013

2119 Dream Rinse

Why do we sleep? Perchance to dream. They used to say dreams were the result of the brain reordering itself during sleep. As memories were burned and shifted our unconscious picked up their traces and, since the brain tends to prefer a narrative, it constructed a story around them that we picked up as a dream. The artifacts of defragging as it were.

Wonder if when your computer goes into sleep-mode it dreams. Could explain that annoying residual hard-drive ticking.

Well science has figured out a new reason why we and other animals sleep. Even though it seems like a bad thing to do survival wise, unconsciousness making us so vulnerable to predators and all. Without it we'd go crazy. 

Literally, because the sleep cycle is not unlike the rinse cycle in your washing machine. It's when your brain cleans itself. Not just those misplaced thoughts, your actual brain cells. Turns out thinking is dirty work and various toxins build up during the day. At night, or whenever you sleep, your regular brain cells actually shrink, and the spaces between them enlarge to make it easier for cerebrospinal fluid to flush out the toxins. 

Sleep is necessary because your waking brain needs the cells enlarged to think. You can't think and flush at the same time. Interestingly, one of the toxins flushed out is beta-amyloid, the brain plaque found in many dementia patients. Who, not coincidentally it now turns out, often suffer from sleep disorders. 

So, if you're feeling a little forgetful of late, I suggest a nice comfy nap. Away go troubles as you drain that brain. I'm guessing the newest off-label use for dementia will be the sleeping pill Lunesta. 

Don't want to get loony? Use Lunesta.

It'll have you feeling flush in no time.  

America, ya gotta love it.

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