Sleep is a less active period which involves an inhibition of the body’s voluntary muscles, sensory activities and overall consciousness. It is clearly distinct from wakefulness and there is a decreased response to external stimuli during this period. Studies have shown that having at least seven to eight hours of sleep is highly beneficial to the overall health of the body and the brain. Here are a few benefits of sleep to the brain.
The brain is even more active during sleep as against popular thoughts that everything goes to rest. During this period, the glymphatic system acts like a drainage and recycling system which clears and recycles the brain’s toxins. During this recycling process, a protein known as amyloid plaque which is a major causative agent of Alzheimer’s is cleared out. This ‘clear-out’ is possible due to the expansion of the space between the brain cells. This is definitely a strong reason to ensure you get enough sleep.
Improved Cognitive Abilities
Sleep deprivation reduces the working memory and cognitive abilities of an individual. However, with quality sleep, your vision, awareness, multi-tasking abilities, and ability to concentrate would be massively improved. Quality sleep will also help your decision making process, helping you to plan and process events clearly from the start. With several activities you are exposed to during the day, it is a tad difficult for the brain to process and focus on them all. The brain also experiences a lot of memories during sleep. Therefore, sleep deprivation will deprive you of a good balance between the night and day events.
Retains and Creates Memories
Acetylcholine- an important neurotransmitter is responsible for creating memories during sleep. During this less active period, acetylcholine also induces dreaming. In retaining the memory of an individual, this invaluable neurotransmitter helps to lay down the short term day time memories into proper storage of long term memories. In fact, people who start to develop Alzheimer’s are usually first affected when the cells that produce acetylcholine are destroyed.
While sleeping is important, the length of sleep really matters. Studies have shown that short sleep could lead to a reduced brain volume. Scientists have also concluded that the chemicals secreted during the later stages of sleep are crucial for the repair of the brain and overall function of the body.
It is almost normal for busy individuals to shorten their sleep due to their numerous engagements. However, there is no way you can be successful with your activities if there is no proper concentration. With proper planning, you can experience quality night sleep and in turn, enjoy the best of your day’s work.