More sleep means increased production of cells that produce myelin, an insulating material that protects the brain’s circuitry. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin who studied mice found that as the mice slept, the production rate of immature oligodendrocytes, the cells that make myelin, doubled. In contrast, when the mice were forced to stay awake, the genes involved in cell death and stress responses were turned on. Deep sleep, the researchers of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke said, appears necessary for nervous systems to work properly. Deep sleep coincides with the release of growth hormones in both children and young adults.
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