The importance of sleep

Wednesday 10th Jan 2024, 9.15am

We spend one-third of our lives asleep. But while we drift off into the land of dreams, our brains are very busy.

Nerves within the brain are constantly creating new proteins, with each protein having a specific function, such as controlling the flow of charged particles and electrical activity in the brain. But these proteins only do their job properly if they are folded correctly – a bit like a paper aeroplane only flies well if you fold it a certain way.

Atreyi Chakrabarty, from the Department of Pharmacology, explains that if the cell environment isn’t just right, cells can become stressed and proteins don’t fold properly.

It’s thought that unfolded proteins might contribute to the development of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. So, how can sleep help to maintain healthy brain functions? Find out in our latest video!