Sleep is good for the brain. Poor sleep is bad for your brain. Sleep is a time for the brain to rest and process information from the day. The body needs sleep or else it faces exhaustion. When the brain sleeps, it enhances the way it stores information in the memory, and the way it makes decisions. Talk to anyone who has gone days on end with little to no sleep and likely notice a marked difference in their mood. Regular sleep is good for emotional regulation. Sleep is also good for creative thinking. Try coming up with new and original ideas without any sleep. Exhaustion is inspiring for some. Overtime, the sleepless mind will shut down making it difficult to be creative. Sleep can be seen as a time for recharging when the brain gets its energy back.
Poor Sleep is Bad for your Brain
During sleeping hours the brain not only reboots, it enters a sort of self-clean mode like an oven. Routine cleaning each night of sleep helps the brain function more effectively. Neuromedical professionals have found that this deep clean even changes the very cellular structure of the brain.
Called the “glymphatic system” the brain has a waterworks system that pushes toxins through the brain like pushing dirt through a plumbing system. Leftover toxic material is washed out each night. Degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s are prevented by this process. One study discovered hidden areas of the brain that only open when we sleep. The brain pushes fluid through these hiding places to the spinal column.
Clean to Sleep, Sleep to Clean
The six to eight hour prescription for sleep is not without merit. According to researchers, the entire glymphatic process takes about that amount of time. Getting enough sleep is critical for flushing out harmful neurotoxins from the brain- neurotoxins that make it difficult to sleep. Beta-amyloid is a neurotoxin that can cause Alzheimer’s and poor sleep. When beta-amyloid builds up it prevents the body from resting deeply and getting those critical six to eight hours. Consequently, the lack of sleep creates more build up of beta-amyloid.
Tips for Deep Sleep
- Don’t interact with your smart device before bed, or sleep with it near you. The data signals emitted by the phone all night long can prevent the brain from effectively cleaning itself out
- Maintain a nutritionally based diet and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day
- Strive to meet that six to eight hour requirement for sleep – or – compensate with naps throughout the day of 20-90 minutes.