Posted on Dec 30, 2016, 6 a.m.
As compared to sleeping on your back or stomach, sleeping on your side may help to clear brain waste.
The brain’s glymphatic pathway is responsible for clearing harmful wastes – particularly amyloid-beta plaques that characterize Alzheimer’s Disease, during sleep. Employing an animal model, Helen Benveniste, from Stony Brook University (New York, USA), and colleagues studied the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) - interstitial fluid (ISF) exchange efficiency – a marker of the clearance capacity of the glymphatic pathway. The team found that sleeping in the lateral position (on one’s side) may more effectively remove brain wastes including amyloid-beta, as compared to sleeping on the back or stomach. The study authors submit that: “We propose that the most popular sleep posture (lateral) has evolved to optimize waste removal during sleep.”
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Lee H, Xie L, Yu M, Kang H, Feng T, Deane R, Logan J, Nedergaard M, Benveniste H. “The Effect of Body Posture on Brain Glymphatic Transport.” J Neurosci. 2015 Aug 5;35(31):11034-44.