Thanks to newer technologies for measuring and tracking brain activity, scientists have defined the biological processes that occur during good-quality sleep and they seem to be essential for lowering the risk of brain disorders, reports TIME.

“There has been a real renaissance in research around the connection between sleep, sleep quality, sleep disturbance and dementia, especially Alzheimer’s dementia,” says Dr. Kristine Yaffe, professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. The National Institutes of Health is currently funding at least half a dozen new studies exploring how sleep may impact dementia, and the Alzheimer’s Association created a committee to promote more research in the area.