The importance of sleep, and a functional cranial fluid system
There has been recent news of research suggesting that in sleep the brain house cleans. Little surprise here. But the scientists now conclude this is why we need sleep!! The parenchyma or packing material shrinks at night easing transport of the detritus of metabolism out via the sinuses with CSF. It contracts at night: mmm Yin, moon phase: extension! Partial emptying of CSF from the ventricular and subarachnoid spaces and matrix of the brain occurs in extension phase of the brain. This may clear away amyloid plaques and prevent both dementia and the dreaded Alzheimers!
This totally collaborates what the osteopathic community have known since the early part of the last century, with W. Sutherland's research into osteopathy in the cranial field. Research had shown that repeated osteopathic cranial treatment on the brains of older subjects appeared to provide a constancy and dynamic state to the 'normal' fluid ebb and flow of the brain, and thus an emptying and cleaning of the detritus of physiology from within the matrix of the brain. The flow is mediated by the parenchymatous rhythmical expansion and contraction, the partial refueling with CSF or infilling and partial emptying in the ventricles and the rotation, counter-rotation of the whole dural envelope creates a cyclical expansion-contraction, flexion-extention of the whole neuroaxis, so that the normal emptying of the fluid within the brain tissue and its ventricular and subarchmoid spaces is augmented as it goes into the sinuses of the brain (the anatomical equivalence to veins). The suggestion is that this augments the prevention of Alzheimer's and dementia apart from a myriad of other age related ills. I will try and find the research but it is some years ago I read it. New research also suggests those with sleep disorders are susceptible to the above, and that sleep disorder is a predictable sign.