Jeff Iliff, professor and researcher at Oregon Health and Science University, discusses the importance of sleep as it pertains to our health.

"Sleep may actually be a kind of elegant design solution to some of the brains most basic needs. A unique way that the brain meets the high demands and the narrow margins that set it apart from all of the other organs in the body," said Iliff.

Iliff goes on to explain how our brain, like all organs in our body, produces waste. Sleep plays an important role to allow our brain to clear away this waste. Only during sleep, fluid flushes through our brain and clears out the waste between cells. However, when we do not get enough sleep our brain doesn't have time to clear the waste.

Build up of some of this waste may be one of the precursors to Alzheimer's disease.

"And while it's important to point out that these studies don't prove that lack of sleep or poor sleep cause Alzheimer's disease, they do suggest that the failure of the brain to keep it's house clean by clearing away waste do contribute to the development of conditions like Alzheimer's."

You can watch the TED Talk by Jeff Iliff here:
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