Sleeping Actually Keeps Your Brain From Growing Junk

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Pulling an all-nighter turns your brain into a trash-jammed landfill… literally.

Scientists have recently found that while you sleep at night, your brain cells send in microscopic cleaners to sop up toxic waste byproducts that pile up there while you're awake, according to a Washington Post report.


Researchers at the University of Rochester found the neural cleanup system and discovered that the brains of mice who stayed up all night didn't get this visit from the garbage men… and the junk pile of toxins, including one that may cause Alzheimer's, explains why the mice were sluggish, foggy, and cranky the next morning.

The discovery helps explain exactly why sleep is so important — and may boost teams searching for cures to toxin-linked diseases, like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.


"Sleep puts the brain in another state where we clean out all the byproducts of activity during the daytime," study author and neurosurgeon Maiken Nedergaard told the Post.

So no matter how much you have to do tonight, don't forget to take out the trash in your head.

Adam Weinstein was Fusion's senior editor in charge of digital investigations. He has also worked for Gawker, Mother Jones, and the Wall Street Journal.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter