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Your Brain During Sleep

By Stephen Maxwell February 25, 2021

Your Brain During Sleep

Most of us nod off to dreamland without much thought of the complex processes that happen during sleep. Once you start diving deeper, you’ll develop a new appreciation for the miraculous efforts your mind and body go through to keep you happy and healthy!

The truth is, even though you feel like you're resting at night, your brain is still highly active - it's working hard for you to reboot, regenerate and renew you for an inspired new day.  

Just by improving your sleep, you'll enjoy these brain benefits:

  • Mood support

  • A sharper memory

  • Decision making power

  • Greater creativity

  • A stronger learning capacity

  • The clearing out of your mind for a fresh start

  • Feeling extra focused

The biggest brain booster is, you guessed, it, sleep. More than any other pharmaceutical drug or supplement you’ll find, sleep is number one for a healthy mind.

Consider sleep your free ‘smart drug’. When you dose off, your brain doesn’t just switch off - it begins to consolidate and process your memories and what’s happened during the day. Plus, your brain is working hard to detox you of its waste products, and regenerate healthy brain cells. Thanks to this process, you’ll be able to tackle on the mental challenges during the day. 

During sleep, your brain is repairing itself. Glial cells (supportive nervous system cells) protect your neurons and are considered critical in the sleeping process. These special cells assist to detoxify your brain, promote brain plasticity and regulate neuronal metabolism. The fact that you can learn new things and have the ability to remember is partially thanks to your hard-working glial cells. These protective cells also rebuild the myelin sheath around your brain's most-utilised neurons, so you feel switched on every day.  

“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day -- Mother Nature's best effort yet at contra-death.” 

Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Many Aussies are getting less than the recommended 7 - 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Whether you're looking to get more energy during the day, optimise your athletic performance or ward off mental conditions like Alzheimer's, focusing on sleep can provide some easy wins.

Experts' top tips for quality sleep:

    • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends or after a bad night of sleep)

    • Avoid alcohol or smoking

    • Avoid heavy meals or too much water before bed

    • No more caffeine after lunch

    • Increase your bright light exposure during the day

    • Wear blue-light blocking glasses at night

    • Avoid electronics two hours before bed - put that phone away!

    • Keep naps to a minimum

    • Optimise your room temperature so you're feeling slightly cooler at night

    • Find an activity that'll help you 'switch off', like reading, journaling or meditation

    • Make sure you exercise regularly

    • Find the best pillow, mattress and bed for you


If sleep continues to be an issue, make sure to consult with your health provider. Since sleep issues can be related to many different conditions, it's important to rule out possibilities and get a structured treatment plan that is just for you.

    Need extra supplemental support? Here's our top choices to catch more Zzzs:

     

     


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