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Why Sleep Is Important To The Brain

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Sleep is needed for the body to repair and replenish damaged cells due to stress and ultraviolet rays, to trigger hormones that regulate mood, energy and mental acuity, and for the mind to restore alertness and memory. Adequate sleep is also necessary for the immune system to fight infections, support sugar metabolism, perform productively at work or school and maintain healthy relationships. Good sleep is not a luxury, although it has often become so in our 24/7 lifestyles; rather, it is an essential requirement for well-being, optimal functioning, and quality of life. There are several areas of the brain that interact with each other to produce the states of arousal…Although it is likely that other sleep-promoting neurons participate in the induction and maintenance of sleep, the VLPO neurons appear to play a particularly important role in this process. Located in the anterior hypothalamus, the VLPO consists of a dense cluster of sleep-active, galanin-positive neurons surrounded medially and dorsally by a more diffuse extension from the nucleus. (Sherin et al. 1996)…show more content…
(Szymusiak et al. 1998) Sleep recording in animals with cell-specific lesions of the VLPO not only showed a decrease in NREM, REM, and total sleep by up to 50% (Lu et al. 2000), but also demonstrated more frequent transitions between sleep and wake due to reduced stability in both (Lu et al. 2000). Prominent loss of sleep and increase in sleep fragmentation, which lasts for months after VLPO lesions (Lu et al. 2000), suggests that the VLPO neurons represent a central and irreplaceable component of the sleep-promoting
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