What Your Brain Is Really Doing When You Sleep

It's anything but simple.

Getting the right amount of sleep is not only crucial to our well-being, it's also paramount to our survival.

Sleep has become a major field of study, and researchers are continually discovering new information about the process. When we're sleep deprived, our whole body feels it. It can affect our liver, our heart and even our mental health.

But sleep isn't the only human function that experts are studying with new zeal; there's a biological, hardwired drive behind many of our everyday actions. That's why we're launching Next Level Living, a new 10-part HuffPost Originals video series.

The project explores the science behind our habits, from why we need rest to why we crave social connections. Each video will also offer tips on how to improve well-being based on current research. Think of it as a guide to hacking your life through science.

For our first episode, we had sleep experts break down what's going on biologically when we're logging Zs, and why it's so important. As it turns out, it's anything but simple. Our brain is constantly firing when we're awake, as though it's building up "trash" that needs to be taken out. The only way to do that? Hitting the pillow.

Studies show sleep is crucial to our brain's everyday functions -- and without it, there could be deadly consequences. Our bodies are made up of proteins that fold themselves into unique shapes that determine their function. After 16 hours without sleep, our body starts to "miss-fold" proteins, which can in turn take a toll on our health.

Take a look at our first episode of Next Level Living above to learn more about why sleep is so key to our functioning. Better sleep = better humans. Simple as that.

And check our our Next Level Living show page here.

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