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

Experts say sleep can wash away proteins that build up during the day, thereby lowering your risk for dementia.
  • A new study indicates that the brain goes through a “cleansing” process while you sleep.
  • Experts say this cleansing washes away proteins that accumulate during the day and can help lower the risk of dementia.
  • Experts say there are a number of tips for getting better sleep, ranging from a consistent wake-up time to how you style your bedroom.

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 findingsTrusted Source 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.

The research adds new insight into the sleep-dementia connection.