The Importance of Sleep
Sleep may be the best detox for your brain. REM sleep is necessary in resting and resetting the body and brain. A recent study has also found that slow-wave sleep (SWS), the deepest phase of sleep, is key to detoxing the brain. During SWS, blood volume decreases and that space is filled with cerebrospinal fluid. This is important in getting rid of the toxic waste in the brain that can cause neurodegeneration.
Think of it as your brain’s “wash and rinse cycle.” The cerebrospinal fluid flows in large, slow waves. These waves are larger than the waves that occur while we are awake. During the SWS cycle, every 20 seconds the brain rids itself of toxins that had built up during the day. When these toxins are not cleaned out, they can lead to degeneration, such as Alzheimer’s. Our time asleep is not only crucial for our energy levels, but also for our basic needs of functioning and health.
People are Sleep DeprivedP- According to the CDC, one in three adults do not get the sleep they need for their bodies and brains to adequately and fully reset. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society expounds that allowing yourself to experience the sleep cycles your body and brain needs has been “associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.”
If sleep is so important for our overall wellbeing, why is it often one of the first things we sacrifice? Bedtime procrastination is a recent phenomenon studied by scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. No, it’s not simply being a productive night owl; it is procrastinating going to bed for meaningless and unhelpful reasons, such as swiping on your phone or binging Netflix.
Dr. Floor Kroese, an assistant professor of health psychology at the university, shared, “We see that up to half of our participants report going to bed later than they wanted at least twice a week. … People who generally have trouble resisting temptations and adhering to their intentions are also more likely to delay going to bed. This perspective opens up new pathways for strategies that could potentially be effective in improving people’s sleep behavior.”
The solution? Mindfulness.
Guided Sleep Meditations
It can be difficult to get your mind to a place of relaxation after a long day. And with the constant stressors we face, it’s no wonder many of us spend some nights tossing and turning with our racing minds. Guided sleep meditations, such as BrainTap, can help you slow down, set your mind at ease, and prepare for a restful night of rejuvenation.
BrainTap users report that they not only fall asleep faster and easier, but they stay asleep longer and have better quality sleep. This allows your body to get into SWS to detox for the upcoming day. Our BrainTap Pro App also offers several audio series dedicated to helping you get good, quality sleep by training your brain and body to relax into the deepest possible sleep for you. For a free 15 Day Trial to the BrainTap Pro App, click here.
Five Ways Your Brain is Influenced by Sleep
As mentioned earlier, your overall health and wellbeing is greatly influenced by your quality of sleep. Here are five (of many) ways the brain is impacted by sleep:
- Sleep solidifies and maintains memory
- Toxins in your brain get cleaned out while you sleep
- Your cognition and creativity are improved and strengthened as you consistently experience the sleep cycles you need
- Mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are better managed
- Your overall physical health is improved, such as healthier heart function, decreased inflammation, better hormone regulation, and more.