Understanding the direct links between brain health and sleep

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When we go to sleep every night, we often do not think of how the body works during the hours that we are unconscious. Our bodies go through something of a refresher course as we sleep, and during the night the body revitalizes the building blocks that keep our bodies functioning and thriving properly. While our bodies react to sleep on multiple levels, it is our brains that rely on and benefit the most from our sleeping patterns (presuming those sleeping habits are healthy, that is). It is no secret that our bodies function the best when we get our recommended seven to nine hours sleep each night, but what is shocking in many ways is just how much our brain benefits or loses from the way that we sleep throughout the evening. We all want to operate at our healthiest, and it is clear from the abundance of information and scientific exploration available to us that sleep is a key contributing factor to just how well we can operate at any given time.

Sleep impacts the human body in multiple ways. One of the least considered is the impact that a good night’s sleep has on our brains. Navigating the road to optimal sleeping patterns can sometimes prove to be more difficult than one first anticipates. Sometimes improving the quality of sleep just takes the purchasing of a new mattress. Checking online mattress reviews is a great way to do some research before going into stores or making a buying decision online. And sometimes, it requires more time, effort, and information to make positive changes to one’s sleeping habits. Either way, action is the important first step (and sometimes the second, and the third, and the forth…). When it comes to controlling our sleep, we must be putting the utmost consistent effort into ensuring the quality of our sleep, as well as the way we are sleeping. This is especially true when we consider that our brain health covers everything from memory function, emotional and cognitive capacity, and absence of diseases of the mind (to name a few key functions).

Our brains literally propel our body’s movements and keep us functioning at our best, so we must do our best to do all we can to keep our brains thriving. Sleeping allows the body to solidify the memories of the day just passed. The toxins that are associated with diseases of the mind (think Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, for example) build up throughout the day, and when we sleep the brain works to clear out this gunk that has built up over the course of the time we have been awake for. The brain carries out this process through cerebrospinal fluid. When the body does not get enough sleep, the brain suffers [arguably] the most out of all our organs and bodily functions. This is not difficult to understand. This is science in motion, and widespread – and ever-growing – awareness for the process as it stands currently, and develops further moving forward. We have more awareness, more knowledge, than ever. Now it is time to act on it.

Sleep is finally being recognized as being just as crucial to brain health as it is to our energy levels throughout the days. Scientists have found out that fragmented sleep – even if experienced for the recommended seven to nine hours through the night – can be, and often is, destructive to emotional and cognitive functions. These are both primitive functions of the brain, and they are incredibly important to overall brain health. We are more emotional when we do not get enough sleep, as well as when we sleep too much. This is because our brain does not have the right chemical balance to keep itself thriving and in alignment with the emotions that we experience as part of everyday life. When a person does not get enough sleep, they essentially become part of the problem, even going so far as to make it considerably worse. This is the reality.

The verdict is in. Sleep is not a luxury and should not be treated as such. In fact, sleep is one of the primary contributing factors to our health, particularly the health of our brains. Over the years, there has been much discussion and scientific research carried out to determine the exact lengths and truths of this concept, and the collective conclusion is that the quality of our sleep has significant impact on the health of not only our brains, but our whole bodies. This is an issue that people all over the world experience, and it is one that deserves and demands our utmost attention. We are simply not doing enough to maintain healthy sleeping patterns, and our literal brains need us to do better. We simply cannot function at our full potential otherwise.

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