‘I love you more than sleep’ was the expression of love I had printed on a canvas for our 13th wedding anniversary. It was the biggest declaration I could think of. I do genuinely love sleep it is a priority in my life and I instilled this love in my children…from an early age!
My current bedtime read is Matthew Walker’s ‘Why We Sleep’, a present for my 40th. A beautiful blend of science and compulsive reading, I am enjoying every page. There are loads of lovely facts and statistics that satisfy the parts of my brain that still work like that and all of them are making me feel very justified in my feeling for slumber.
One part of the book made me want to dig deeper. A beautiful piece of information that described how during sleep the glial cells that surround neurones in the brain shrink back and increase the area between them allowing cerebrospinal fluid greater access and ease in the sleeping clean up. The image conjured in my mind of this is delicate and elegant.
For the first time in a long time I felt like I wanted a more in-depth explanation. I found the primary research and engaged brain! I even read some of the supplementary material (mainly because I needed it broken down for me!), I never read the methods parts. I understand why the detail of this is not in the main paper. Researchers who use mice regularly will understand, no-one needs to hear about craniotomies and where the sutures go.
Getting through the paper brought back many memories, including those of not understanding everything and having a few ‘blah, blah, blah’ moments, but overall it felt good to have to think about what I was reading. To top it off the senior academic is a female Prof from Copenhagen, working in New York (new heroine worship).
But there are many question left unanswered. Still the good old science that I know and love. They have got all the answers. What are the signals involved? I can’t believe I actually want to know about the signalling pathway on this one! And how long will it be until we can see a video of it in real time? And specifically which glial cells are involved (there are more than one type)…it’s so exciting!
I also found a lovely concise and easy to read version of the original research here- wish I could write like this!
This research is now 5 years old, so I’m clearly hot on the tail! Cutting edge my…