I Stay Awake, My Brain Decays

I have written previously and with great despair of my (eventual?) surrender to sleep. By that, I mean giving in to the fact that I am older than I was when I could thrive on relatively little sleep, and given the realities of my daily life, relying on late-night internetting and whatnot for my treasured self-actualizing alone time may simply no longer be an option. I am too exhausted when I cannot afford to be.

I have yet to change my habits, however, in the spirit of the end of the détente. Functionally, it would simply be a matter of hauling my sorry ass up to bed at a more reasonable hour (it occurs to me that it’s a little odd that “reasonable” is somehow synonymous with “earlier” in this context), and allowing sleep to take over. But I haven’t quite. A handful of times I’ve given an earlier bedtime a shot, but not in any meaningful way. Mostly, I’ve stuck to my old, and increasingly untenable ways.

And then I read this from NPR:

While the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins, a process that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, researchers say.

During sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases dramatically, washing away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours, a study of mice found. . . .

The results appear to offer the best explanation yet of why animals and people need sleep. If this proves to be true in humans as well, it could help explain a mysterious association between sleep disorders and brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

Oh shit.

So by not hitting the sack early enough, not only am I rendering myself grumpier, more lethargic, and less productive, but I’m also literally poisoning my brain. I am almost begging for early onset of dementia.

Fucking great. I’m probably going to lose sleep over this.

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