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Sleep’s Detoxing Effects on the Brain

Sleep is as vital to our health and well-being as food and water, but did you know that sleep also has a detoxing effect on the brain?

For centuries, top minds in science and philosophy have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Whereas the physical effects of sleep are well documented, it is only until recently that we are gaining a clearer picture of sleep’s effects on our brain and the emotional system within. 

Quick Recap: Sleep and Physical Health

Physically, we know that sleep plays a role in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Without consistent sleep, we are more at risk for heart problems to develop such as heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, as well as increased vulnerability to other risks such as kidney disease and diabetes. In addition, your body relies on sleep for your immune system to stay healthy and fight against infections. 

Sleep is Just as Important for Your Emotional Health

  • Sleep is necessary for your brain to function properly. As you sleep, your brain prepares for the next day by consolidating memories and transferring information from short to long-term storage. 
  • Sleep helps you learn new skills. Whether you’re learning a new instrument, learning a new program at work, or learning to rewire your brain away from the temptation of drugs and alcohol, sleep helps you to enhance your learning, attention and problem-solving capabilities. 
  • Sleep helps you stay in control. In situations where it’s necessary to adapt to change, a good night’s rest can help you remain in control of your emotions and behavior. Lack of sleep has been linked with depression, suicide and risk-taking behavior.
  • Sleep fuels creativity. In problem-solving and life in general, being well-rested helps you approach the world from a fresh perspective and avoid getting stuck. 

Sleep and the Brain

Only recently do we have more information about the importance of quality sleep in the brain. Building on research that began studying the detoxifying effects of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) in mice, new research is helping us confirm that the same process happens in humans. 

“We need sleep,” says Dr. Nedergaard, the lead investigator on the exploratory studies of CSF in mice, “It cleans up the brain.” In this initial study, the researchers were surprised to find how little CSF flowed while the test subjects were awake; this presented a vastly different picture than when they were sleeping, and the CSF flowed rapidly. As CSF sweeps in, toxins like beta-amyloid, which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, are swept away.  

New research in humans confirms that while an important agent in this process is the cerebral spinal fluid, the period of non-REM sleep offers the reprieve from regular brain activity where the brain is able to cleanse itself of toxic molecules. Without sleep, we wouldn’t have the same opportunity to cleanse our brains and bodies.

Pursue Wellness With The Right Step

Sleep is an integral part of anyone’s wellness plan, and adhering to a regular sleep schedule is recommended by our experts no matter who you are or the challenges you face. No matter where you are seeking addiction treatment in Texas, The Right Step is here to help you find your path to wellness. 

Connect with us today at 844-529-2432.

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