By: Annie Morgan
We live in a stressed-out culture where the demands of others and the pressure to “do more” can often cause us to forgo one of the most important things in our life – a good night’s sleep.
Many people boast that they’ll “sleep when they’re dead” and pride themselves on only sleeping for 3 hours each night.
But the truth is not getting enough sleep can actually cause our brain to decline and lead to a whole other host of health problems like obesity or depression.
So if you are one of the ones who insist on getting enough sleep each night – take comfort in knowing you are actually helping your brain more than you realize!
Here are the incredible ways a proper amount of sleep can affect the brain.
Think back to a time when you barely got any sleep and how defective you felt the next day!
When we don’t sleep, we walk around like zombies – our reflexes are slow, we can’t concentrate, and suddenly we seem to be forgetful.
As it turns out, sleep research shows without proper sleep – the pathways in the brain are affected which makes it tough to concentrate or create memories.
The National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke reported:
“Without sleep you can’t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and it’s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.
Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.”
Getting enough sleep helps your brain stay active and can make you sharp!
Our bodies are so incredible, they are working even while we are asleep.
Many people think sleep is “passive” but nothing could be further from the truth.
While you’re sleeping, your brain is actually getting rid of all of the toxins that have developed throughout the day.
So while you peacefully sleep – your brain is busy at work helping purify your body.
“Cerebral spinal fluid is pumped more quickly throughout the brain while you sleep. It acts like a vacuum cleaner, whisking away waste products, such as molecular detritus that brain cells make and toxic proteins that can lead to dementia over time. So you wake up with, quite literally, a clean slate.”
If you refuse to let your body rest and recover from the day, these toxins will continue to swirl around inside and can continue to accumulate.
More Than Just The Brain
While a good night’s sleep can improve your memory and keep you sharp – and help remove toxins from your body – sleeping well does more than just help your brain –it impacts your entire body.
Not sleeping can cause all kinds of physical problems and lead to everything from headaches to even seizures.
John Hopkins Medicine reported:
“Sleep is vital to the rest of the body too. When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person.”
If you find yourself waking up every day with headaches consider how much you are actually sleeping each night.
You might find by getting just an extra few hours of sleep will help your body feel better overall.
All Sleep Is Not Created Equal
As much as possible, it’s best that your sleep is not interrupted so your body has time to go through all the sleep stages – from non-REM sleep to the deep sleep phase where your body feels “paralyzed.”
Do as much as you can to sleep in a dark room and silence your phone before bed so you aren’t waking up each time you get a late night email or text message.
And if you can, work to go to bed and get up the same time each day.
It’s also important to make sure you have a good pillow that supports your neck and that the temperature in your room is comfortable so you’ll be less likely to wake up throughout the night.
Many people even find comfort in extra items like a soothing noise machine or a weighted blanket.
If you’re wondering how much sleep you need each night, health experts recommend 7-9 hours each night.
So if you are a person who loves to get enough shut-eye each night – take confidence that you are keeping your body and brain strong!
How many hours of sleep do you get each night?
Were you surprised to learn how sleep helps the brain stay sharp and active?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know how the amazing ways a good night’s sleep helps the brain!