6 brain benefits of sleep

6 brain benefits of sleep

The brain benefits of sleep are well documented. Scientists learn more every day about how sleep affects memory, cognitive function and so much more. Sleep and brain health go hand in hand. Let’s take a look at 6 brain benefits of sleep.

1. Better decision-making:
Many experts believe that adults make around 35,000 conscious decisions per day. While this number is impossible to predict for sure, it is an indicator of how important decision-making is. Science shows that good sleep can help with decision-making.

2. Detoxes brain:
The body has a natural detoxifying system, and so does the brain. According to research from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows the following: “The study…reveals that the brain’s unique method of waste removal – dubbed the glymphatic system – is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Furthermore, the researchers found that during sleep the brain’s cells reduce in size, allowing waste to be removed more effectively. “

3. Improves focus:
Research shows that sleep can help you focus better on daily tasks, making it easier for you to complete all of the work and errands planned for the day.

4. Improves mood:
A small-scale study published in The Journal of Neuroscience shows that lack of sleep makes it very difficult for the brain to regulate emotions. It makes it harder to react ideally to stress triggers that you normally deal with on a day to day basis.

5. Promotes mental health:
Sleeping early may help promote mental health. Research shows that long-term lack of sleep may contribute to or increase risk of mental health problems. Lack of sleep can also increase feelings of worry or stress.

6. Sleep and memory go together:
Scientists may have found how sleep and memory go together. Brandeis University graduate students Paula Haynes and Bethany Christmann found that neurons in the brain make us sleep so they can consolidate memory. Thus, getting a good nights sleep before an exam or presentation is key to locking in memories and increasing performance the next day.

Here are the recommended hours of sleep we should get throughout our lifetime, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

Infants: up to 16 hours total, including naps
Toddlers (1-3 yrs): 12-14 hours, including naps
Preschool (3-5 yrs): 11-13 hours, most do not nap after age 5
School-age (5-12 yrs): 10-11 hours
Teens: 8.5-9.5 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “A Single Pair of Neurons Links Sleep to Memory Consolidation in Drosophila Melanogaster.” ELife. ELife, 7 Jan. 2015. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.
2. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.
3. “6 Ways Sleep Benefits Your Mind.” The Huffington Post. HuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 4 Jan. 2016.
4. “To Sleep, Perchance to Clean.” University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester. University of Rochester, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2016.
5. “Losing Neutrality: The Neural Basis of Impaired Emotional Control without Sleep.” The Journal of Neuroscience. The Journal of Neuroscience, n.d. Web. 04 Jan. 2016.
6. “Why ‘Sleeping on It’ Helps.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 26 Oct. 2009. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.
7. “Why Is Sleep Important?National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.
8. “Sleep and Mental Health.” Harvard Health. Harvard Medical School, n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2016.

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