The only detox you need is sleep — but it’s not totally clear why

Put those proteins out of your mind—literally. DepositPhotos

(Kat Eschner/ Popular Science) — Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep gets the most hype, but it’s far from the only important part of our snooze cycle.

A new study shows that slow-wave sleep (SWS), the deepest phase of non-REM sleep, may be the key to detoxing our brains.

The study identified a cycle that occurred during SWS in 11 participants, who were all healthy people between the ages of 20 and 33. Animal research in the 1970s found that “slow waves” of neuronal activity sweep across the brain during SWS.

Then, blood volume decreases and cerebrospinal fluid sweeps in to fill the new space. Cerebrospinal fluid is known to play an important role in flushing out toxic waste that can cause neurodegeneration, and the researchers think that these waves of it are an important part of the brain’s “wash-rinse” cycle. (…)

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