A new Northwestern University study reaffirms the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.
By examining fruit flies’ brain activity and behavior, the researchers found that deep sleep has an ancient, restorative power to clear waste from the brain. This waste potentially includes toxic proteins that may lead to neurodegenerative disease.
“Waste clearance could be important, in general, for maintaining brain health or for preventing neurogenerative disease,” said Dr. Ravi Allada, senior author of the study. “Waste clearance may occur during wake and sleep but is substantially enhanced during deep sleep.”
The study published today (Jan. 20) in the journal Science Advances.
Allada is the Edward C. Stuntz Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience and chair of the Department of Neurobiology in the Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He also is associate director of Northwestern’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. Bart van Alphen, a postdoctoral fellow in Allada’s laboratory, was the paper’s first author.