For all of us who nod off at 2pm everyday or just push that morning snooze button, one more time, we don’t need scientific studies to show or prove to us that lack of sleep makes our brain slow and tired.
Now what we may not know is what the latest sleep science tells us, that the cost of poor sleep is far greater than what most people think, it causes brain damage.
When we deprive ourselves of sleep we prevent out brain’s glymphatic system from fully working. Dr. Maiken Nedergaard and her colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered that our brain has a sleep instigated waste drainage system, a glymphatic system.
At night when we sleep, our brain cells shrink up and allow the flow of Cerebrospinal fluid, a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This special cleaning liquid moves through the brain along a series of canals that surround our brain blood vessels. This system is our glymphatic system and is managed by our brain’s glia cells. With these glia cells moving the fluid throughout the brain they flush out toxins and harmful chemicals. Thus, the glia cells are nick named “brain pooper scoopers”.
Key is…our glymphatic system works primarily when we are in stage 3 and 4 of sleep, that slow wave deep sleep, the sleep right before our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when we have all those crazy dreams.
So if we don’t sleep, when we don’t get good slow deep wave sleep, on a consistent basis, we don’t clean out our brain gunk, i.e. bad cells and harmful toxins. Over time when we don’t get enough sleep, the brain gunk accumulates and kills our good brain cells. We all know when a large amount of brain cells die, we get dementia.
Main factor for good brain health…get plenty of sleep, at least 7 hours, right at 8 hours a night, every night. Go catch plenty of Zs tonight!
Here’s to your good brain health!