Sleep and the Brain
The symbiotic relationship that helps you function at your best!
Sure, you probably know about all the effects sleep has on your body, from repairing and restoring muscles and cells, to boosting your immune system and keeping your digestive system in check. But, sleep also has a major effect on the brain. While you’re asleep, your brain gets a chance to reorganize itself, making room for more information, and dump out any unnecessary data and toxins. Plus, your emotional and mental health suffers if you do not get the right amount of good quality sleep. Here are a few ways that sleep affects the brain, showing you why it is important to rest your head for a full 8 hours of sleep, every night:
While you are asleep, your brain replays all the new memories you have made to decide which ones stay and which ones go. Your brain takes this time to convert short-term memories into long-term memories and dump out any information that it doesn’t deem important to make room for more. A lack of sleep will not allow your brain to carry out this function, which will make retaining new information harder and, at times, impossible.
Emotions need to be managed, especially stress, worry, anxiety, and depression. All of these emotions are linked to sleep. That is because REM sleep affects the way the amygdalae function. This part of your brain is connected to storing and processing memories that are associated with emotion. The lack of sleep will hinder your brain’s ability to process these emotions, and you will not be able to react to situations appropriately.
During the day, your brain builds up toxins. When you go to sleep and enter non-REM sleep, a clear thin liquid washes over the brain, known as cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid helps wash away and flush out all the toxins built up in the brain because of metabolic activity. If these toxins are not cleared out, they could lead to illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
During REM sleep, your brain stops thinking rationally and literally. Instead, abstract thoughts come to mind, which is how dreams are formed. This abstract thinking is critical for creativity. If your brain doesn’t get REM sleep, its ability to think creatively will be debilitated.
If you have ever gone a day without sleep or with very little rest, then you know the feeling of irritability, uneasiness, and general state of worry till you can rest your mind again. This shows that even one day without proper rest can have a major effect on the brain, so the importance of sleep can physically be felt. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to get help from a professional so you can ensure your brain is functioning to the best of its ability. Get in touch with the specialists at SoCal Sleep Team so you can sleep easily.