From the time we are young, we’re told to get a good night’s sleep. However, as we get older and our responsibilities increase, quality sleep, for some, becomes a thing of the past. Many may argue, that although they are tired, they are still able to function without sleep, however, did you know that sleep deprivation has been linked to the acceleration of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?

Recent studies have shed light on very vital information of why getting adequate sleep is important. According to the journal Science, as your body sleeps, your brain is actively working to clean out the waste and chemical byproducts from your daily mental activities, which is important in preventing cognitive diseases. 

After a workout, or simply with normal physiology, the lymphatic system works to clean our body.  This process allows the body to return to its normal function, without any damages. The lymphatic system is your body’s own personal custodian; it cleans up any waste that is formed. However, the brain is beyond its reach.

Recent studies have suggested the brain has a glymphatic system, which relies heavily on the glial cells found in your brain, with the primary function of providing the same benefits as the lymphatic system.  For this process to work however, the body must be asleep.

A study on mice confirmed that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is augmented during the sleep cycle. In order for the brain to get rid of its own waste, such as beta-amyloid and other metabolites, which are directly linked to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the body must be asleep.  A similar study on humans is in the future, and will bring us closer to understanding the importance of a good night’s sleep.

At this point, science is short of proving a direct causality between sleep deprivation and the neurodegenerative diseases. However, we definitely know there is a correlation between lack of sleep and different cognitive diseases. Lack of sleep might not directly cause Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, but it may accelerate the onset of the disease.

Chronic sleep deprivation is detrimental to your health. Even though scientists may not be too keen to directly point a finger at sleep and cognitive diseases, they are quite certain that poor sleeping habits will contribute to the accelerated onset of these diseases. Science is allowing us to have a better understanding of the importance of sleep, and these findings shed new light on how the brain functions when the body is asleep.

At our Indianapolis chiropractic clinic, we encourage you to add this to your New Year’s goals and resolutions of being healthier and happier.

Related: Improve Your Sleep Quality, Improve Your Lifestyle


About Integrated Health Solutions

Dr. Charbel Harb is a licensed chiropractic physician and the Medical Director of Integrated Health Solutions. Our core belief is that each patient who walks through the doors is a person, not just a medical record or chart. Our greatest pleasure is bringing joy to our patients and helping them to fully embrace life, allowing them to enjoy each day: active, healthy and pain free.