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Sleepy Heads: Low fuel may drive brain's need to sleep

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11:06am, July 17, 2002

Why animals must sleep is a mystery to scientists. But a new study suggests that a vital function of sleep is to refuel the brain.

Canadian scientists report that energy stores in the brains of rats decline when the animals are forced to stay awake and the stock rebuilds while the animals sleep. The findings support a hypothesis that dwindling energy stores in the waking brain induce sleep (SN: 5/24/97, p. 316: http://www.sciencenews.org/sn_arc97/5_24_97/fob2.htm).

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