A new study from Stony Brook University urges you to sleep on your side for a healthy brain after recent discoveries uncovered more efficient brain cleansing processes in side-sleepers. It’s the most common position for both humans and animals, and coincidentally, it’s apparently the healthiest, according to Dr. Helene Benveniste.
It improves waste clearance of potentially harming substances and proteins from the brain at a faster and more proficient rate, specifically amloyd beta and tau proteins, which have been linked to several neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson are by far the most likely options.
A previous study a few years ago at University of Rochester has discovered that the brain has its own cleansing organism, the glymphatic system, that flushes waste from the brain. It works through a series of channels that run through the organ and filter the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to the deepest depths of our brain, clearing up waste products.
The CSF flushes out harming substances into the lymphatic system, which then further takes out them out via blood. It’s a highly efficient process that is crucial to a healthy brain and researchers have discovered that it’s 60% more successful while we sleep.
The study has been the main catalyst of Dr. Benveniste’s research upon the brain and proper sleeping positions in order to maximize its process of flushing out all the waste. The glymphatic system is most competent while we rest, so she further looked into the best conditions to aid its process.
By using dynamic contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on several rodents under anesthesia, the study’s author was able to observe how the brain’s cleansing system works in different sleeping position when it’s supposed to be at its highest competence. She placed the rats either on their sides (lateral position), on their stomach (prone position) or on their back (supine position).
After observing brain activity in sleeping rats, she was able to conclude that the glympathic system was 25% better in rodents on lateral positions than prone or supine. Essentially, all the harmful substances are easily and quickly flushed out of the brain, as prolonged exposure to amloyd beta can cause plaques and a high number of tau proteins found in Alzheimer’s patients.
The study still has to undergo trials with human participants, but it has been proven that side-sleeping improves the process and encourages the flow of CSF throughout every single part of the brain, vital to our mental health and there have been many other reasons published why the lateral position is doctor-recommended.
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