Sleep’s true value and the damage done by disturbances to our rest has finally been discovered by scientists who say it is a vital time for rest and recovery.
The discovery also sheds light on how sleep affects brain performance, ageing and various disorders, experts say.
Researchers found sleep allows our nerve cells to perform vital nuclear maintenance.
Three dimensional time-lapse images of activity in zebrafish shows that animals require sleep in order to protect their DNA.
Sleep has remained essential to all organisms with a nervous system, including invertebrates such as flies and jellyfish, throughout evolution.
Little is known about why it is a necessity despite many studies that show sleep is important for memory consolidation and learning ability,
In the study, researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel revealed the body repairs itself during sleep.
Using the 3D time-lapse imaging techniques in live zebrafish, the team were able to define sleep in a single chromosome resolution.
it revealed single neurons require sleep in order to perform nuclear maintenance.
The zebrafish was used because of its transparency and the similar organisation of its brain to humans.
This makes them the ‘perfect’ study animal as researchers can study single cells within a live animal.