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Sleep

While we sleep, our brains sort through new memories, putting them in useful order.

While we sleep, our brains sort through new memories, putting them in useful order.

We spend almost one third of our lives asleep and recent studies are showing just how valuable this “snooze time” is to our overall health and well-being. Sleep not only refreshes us and brings a new perspective to our lives, but it also gives the immune system a boost, according to research.

At the University of California at San Diego, for example, studies show that when healthy men are deprived of even one night’s sleep, the activity of cells that attack tumors decreases by nearly 30 percent the following day. Researchers are also finding sleep helps the brain reorganize. “The brain is like a cluttered desk at the end of the day,” says neuroscientist Bruce McNaughton of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Researchers previously believed that the brain would relax during sleep. Now they are finding the brain actually fires up nerve networks not used during the day.

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