Surprise! Sleep is good for you. Okay, that’s likely not a surprise, but a new study has discovered yet another way your body benefits from your nightly rest. When you enter deep sleep, it could be helping your body cleanse itself of toxins.
The benefits of sleep are well-known by now. Not only does it improve brain functions and prevent cognitive decline, but it’s also been linked to bone and joint restoration, strengthening the immune system, and increasing energy. Now, research has discovered that when you enter deep sleep, it could also help your brain communicate with your body and remove toxins.
The study, conducted at Northwestern University, examined the sleep patterns of fruit flies, as they’re similar to those of humans. Researchers particularly examined the flies during a phase similar to human deep, slow-wave sleep. This level of rest is a non-REM sleep pattern, and it’s thought to improve creativity, memory, and the immune system.
During their equivalent phase of sleep, the fruit flies’ proboscis (essentially, their noses) continually expanded and contracted. Researchers believe this helps the flies move fluids toward their kidneys for flushing and waste clearance, and that a similar process happens in humans.
“Our finding that deep sleep serves a role in waste clearance in the fruit fly indicates that waste clearance is an evolutionary conserved core function of sleep,” the researchers wrote. “This suggests that waste clearance may have been a function of sleep in the common ancestor of flies and humans.”
[Via Martha Stewart]