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Is Sleep a Brain Shower?

So apparently every time you sleep, your brain takes a shower in spinal fluid. New research by a team led by Dr. Maiken Nedergaard seems to show that (in mice at least) one of sleep's functions may have to do with cleaning out the "waste" that accumulates during daily brain activity. Dubbed the glymphatic system, essentially this involves the neurons contracting to increase the porousness of the brain so fluids can carry off the detritus created during of all those hard thoughts. One could think of the brain as a kind of engine with the exhaust stuck inside the skull. At night, we idle and turn on the fan. Or something. The metaphors abound! For more on the story, check out The Guardian's article.

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