The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep

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URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4651462/
Journal: MEDtube science
Publication Date: 11/2015
Summary: Sleep is an important component of human life, yet many people do not understand the relationship between the brain and the process of sleeping. Sleep has been proven to improve memory recall, regulate metabolism, and reduce mental fatigue. A minimum of 7 hours of daily sleep seems to be necessary for proper cognitive and behavioral function. The emotional and mental handicaps associated with chronic sleep loss as well as the highly hazardous situations which can be contributed to the lack of sleep is a serious concern that people need to be aware of. When one sleeps, the brain reorganizes and recharges itself, and removes toxic waste byproducts which have accumulated throughout the day. This evidence demonstrates that sleeping can clear the brain and help maintain its normal functioning. Multiple studies have been done to determine the effects of total sleep deprivation; more recently some have been conducted to show the effects of sleep restriction, which is a much more common occurrence, have the same effects as total sleep deprivation. Each phase of the sleep cycle restores and rejuvenates the brain for optimal function. When sleep is deprived, the active process of the glymphatic system does not have time to perform that function, so toxins can build up, and the effects will become apparent in cognitive abilities, behavior, and judgment. As a background for this paper we have reviewed literature and research of sleep phases, effects of sleep deprivation, and the glymphatic system of the brain and its restorative effect during the sleep cycle.

Key Takeaways

Sleep provides the brain the ability to recharge, store memories, make connections, improve memory recall, clear toxins, and much more. Throughout the day your brain processes information, and in doing so produces waste products that are toxic to the brain and must be cleared. Thus, the brain has its own clean up system called the glymphatic system that works to remove toxic metabolites from the brain while you sleep. Therefore sleep deprivation can lead to a build up of these toxins and lead to detrimental effects in brain function, which can lead to impairment in cognitive function, judgement, behavior, reaction time, etc. Sleep truly is a restorative state not only for the body but also for the mind. The average person should strive for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep daily for optimal glymphatic activity.

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