The free radical flux theory of sleep

Med Hypotheses. 1994 Oct;43(4):231-3. doi: 10.1016/0306-9877(94)90071-x.


A theory of sleep is proposed in which cerebral free radicals accumulate during wakefulness and are removed during sleep. Removal of excess free radicals during sleep is accomplished by decreased rate of formation of free radicals, and increased efficiency of endogenous antioxidant mechanisms. Thus, sleep functions essentially as an antioxidant for the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals