Scientists have long known that sleep and meditation can lower stress, improve memory, and might even help with maintaining a healthy weight, among other health benefits.
But what else can these practices do to our brains, and how so?
The Huffington Post recently sat down with Dr. Edward Boyden, neuroscientist and associate professor at MIT Media Lab, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the hunt for evidence behind how sleep and meditation affect us on a neurological level.
"People have been studying how sleep might actually help with, potentially, things like the clearance of toxins and byproducts of the metabolic process that you want to get out of the brain," Boyden said.
In other words, our brains flush out toxins -- such as damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration -- that build up during our waking hours.
This cleaning process not only helps to keep our brains healthy, but also might shed light on why sleep is important for creativity and insight -- two benefits also associated with meditation.
"I think that there are many traditions, such as meditation, that can help us be more attuned to what our mind really wants," Boyden said. "I found it to be very helpful in helping deal with all the pressures and different drives and motivations that are important, and yet, you can only be doing one thing at a time."
To learn more about sleep and meditation, watch the video above.
More stories from the World Economic Forum 2016:
- The Incredible Things Your Brain Does While You're Sleeping
- The Secret To Ending Plastic Waste And Its Devastating Impacts
- CEOs Are Waking Up From Obsession With Profits And Facing Harsh Reality
- How Widening Economic Inequality Could Shake The Whole World
- Getting 196 Countries To Agree On Climate Change Was ‘The Easy Part’
- The Surprising Way Portraits Of Powerful Women Change The Mindsets Of Girls
- Biden Is Sick Of LGBT People Getting Treated Like Second-Class Citizens
- Stop Demonizing Fossil Fuel Companies, Warns Global Bank Chief
- This Powerful Woman Just Took Apple To Task For Its Lack Of Diversity
Also on HuffPost: