A study in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals that the early of stages of sleep show a dramatic increase of energy in regions of the brain that are most active when awake. Although the benefits of a good night’s sleep are well-known, the actual restorative processes that our bodies undergo remain unknown.
“Our finding bears on one of the perennial conundrums in biology: the function of sleep,” said Harvard Researcher Radhika Basheer. “Somewhat surprisingly, there have been no modern-era studies of brain energy using the most sensitive measurements.
The study was conducted by measuring energy levels within the brains of lab rats. When these rats went to sleep, a surge of energy occurred in those regions of the brain most active in in waking hours. Rats kept awake after their normal sleep times showed no increase in energy. A lack of sleep prevented the energy surge from taking place, leading to reduced functionality the next morning.
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