Sleeping on your side best for clearing waste from brain

  • Waste products accumulate as the brain functions.
  • The process of clearing this waste is most effective during sleep.
  • Accumulation of waste products such as amyloid-beta and tau proteins are involved in Alzheimer's.
  • Rat study shows sleeping on your side is best for removing waste from the brain.

This sounds like pseudoscience, but it appears in Journal of Neuroscience, so … Weirdly, a rat study has found that sleeping on the side (the most common posture for humans and other animals) is the best position for efficiently removing waste from the brain.

Brain waste includes amyloid-beta and tau proteins, whose build-up is a critical factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The study used imaging of the glymphatic pathway, which clears waste products from the brain by filtering cerebrospinal fluid through the brain and exchanging it with interstitial fluid. The process is most efficient during sleep, and its efficiency is affected by the level of consciousness. The researchers compared glymphatic transport during sleep when anesthetized rodents’ brains were in three positions—lateral (side), prone (down), and supine (up).

Of course, these findings need to be confirmed in humans (which might be tricky!), but there is, after all, no harm in changing your sleep position, if you don't already sleep on your side (though I concede it can be a difficult thing to change).

Apart from providing a practical tip for fighting age-related cognitive decline and dementia, the finding also supports the idea that one of the purposes of sleep is to ‘clean up’ the mess that accumulates while we are awake.

The finding is also consistent with increasing evidence that sleep disturbances are a factor in the development and progression of dementia.

http://www.futurity.org/side-sleeping-brains-979872/

Reference: 

[3956] Lee, H., Xie L., Yu M., Kang H., Feng T., Deane R., et al.
(2015).  The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic Transport.
The Journal of Neuroscience. 35(31), 11034 - 11044.

Related News

Sleep can boost classroom performance of college students

In a study involving 44 young adults given a rigorous memorizing task at noon and another such task at 6pm, those who took a 90-minute nap during the interval improved their ability to learn on the later task, while those who stayed awake found it harder to learn.

Two experiments involving a total of 191 volunteers have investigated the parameters of sleep’s effect on learning.

The role of sleep in consolidating memory is now well-established, but recent research suggests that sleep also reorganizes memories, picking out the emotional details and reconfiguring the memories to help you produce new and creative ideas.

It is now well established that memories are consolidated during sleep.

Following on from research showing that pulling an all-nighter decreases the ability to cram in new facts by nearly 40%, a study involving 39 young adults has found that those given a 90-minute nap in the early afternoon, after being subjected to a rigorous learning task, did markedly better at

A number of studies have shown the benefits of sleep for consolidating motor learning. A new study extends this research to a more complex motor task: "Guitar Hero III", a popular video game.

It’s now well established that sleep plays an important role in memory and learning. Now a new study suggests that dreams also play a part in consolidating memories.

In this study, subjects were shown two sets of 12 color photographs of people’s faces (24 in total). Five minutes after seeing the last one, the subjects were then shown another 48 faces (one by one, as before) and had to say whether or not they had seen the face earlier.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news