According to CTV News, scientists report good evidence that poor sleep quality may prevent the brain from being able to clear itself of toxins.
Using MRI scans of volunteers at a sleep lab, the Sunnybrook researchers found that people who had had a bad night’s sleep, getting only about three hours of sleep, had enlarged VRS brain spaces.
That suggests these spaces have become blocked and unable to clear toxins properly, says neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Mark Boulos, the study’s principal investigator and senior author.
“We believe that while one sleeps, most of the drainage of these toxins occurs. So if one has fragmented sleep or poor quality sleep, drainage of toxins doesn’t occur in such a robust manner,” he explained.
While much of the research into stroke and dementia has focused on improving the health of blood vessels through healthy diet and exercise, Boulos says the role of sleep has been overlooked.
He says this research holds the promise of providing a new treatment area for people living with the effects of stroke, and possibly for dementia prevention.