- Essential Takeaways
- · Studies show a direct correlation between sleep and brain health
- · During sleep, our brain processes the day's information, forms memories, and expels unwanted toxins
- · Inadequate sleep usually leads to impaired cognitive performance and may contribute to the development of Alzheimer's disease
Data and health science have shown that there is a direct correlation between sleep and brain health, which is defined as the ability to function well in daily life and work. Brain health includes emotional balance as well as problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal ability.
Cognitive Performance & Memory Processing
During sleep, our brain sorts and processes the day's information, which can include ideas, images, thoughts, experiences, and actions, a process known as encoding. The next step, known as memory stabilization, is when the brain consolidates the day’s input with previously stored information in an effort to create long-term memories. Over time, these memories become more resistant to interference or disruption.
When sleep loss occurs, people usually experience a decline in cognitive performance, changes in mood, and an interruption in sleep-dependent memory processing. One of the most important things you can do to contribute to your brain health is to allow yourself adequate sleep.
Clearing the Mind of Toxins
At night, our brain expels unwanted toxins. During sleep, both our brain blood flow and brain waves decrease, making it possible for cerebrospinal fluid to flow more freely. This increase in cerebrospinal fluid flow during sleep has been shown to help remove brain waste and toxins that build up during the day’s stresses. Recent studies suggest that inadequate removal of these toxins, such as amyloid, may be related to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
If you’re committed to your brain health and want to function well in daily life and work, you should pay attention to the duration and quality of your sleep. We can help.
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How Sleep Clears the Brain. National Institutes of Health. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-sleep-clears-brain. Published March 31, 2016. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Augusto-Oliveira M, Arrifano GP, Lopes-Araújo A, et al. What Do Microglia Really Do in Healthy Adult Brain?. Cells. 2019;8(10):1293. Published 2019 Oct 22. doi:10.3390/cells8101293