Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brain Energy Restored by Sleep

In an article published by PsychCentral titled "Sleep Restores Brain Energy", it is reported that research conducted at the Harvard Medical School shows the energy levels in the brain are dramatically recharged in the initial stages of sleep.

The researchers measured a chemical that is responsible for energy transfer in cells called adenosine triphosphate or ATP. They found that ATP levels in certain areas of the brain increased when rats were in non-REM sleep as brain activity decreased. When the rats were awake, ATP levels remained steady. When the rats were kept awake 3 to 6 hours past their normal sleep times, there was no increase in ATP.

This shows that a sleep dependent energy capacity surge is necessary for restorative processes absent during hours of wakeful activity.

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