Have you found it harder to get everything done in your daily activities? The days seem to move faster and it feels as if we are getting fewer things done. So, what’s the solution? Many of us may stay up later and/or get up earlier in the morning, in order to have more time to conduct our daily chores. But, neuroscience is discovering that skimping on our sleep is one of the worst things that we can do.
In sleep, our brains are conducting very important activities that are imperative for staying healthy. For example, our brains fast-forward the memories of the day in the hippocampus, which is the brain’s central memory-filing system. This strengthens the nerve cell connections and in sleep, specific activities are replayed, sorted, and selectively retained. During sleep, this memory information is transferred from the hippocampus to the cerebral cortex for long term memory.
There are three types of sleep: light sleep, REM, and deep sleep. Sleep scientist Dan Gartenberg states that the ‘deep sleep’ period is when the brain conducts many of these activities. He has developed a sound machine that replicates the brain’s deep sleep delta waves. When the sounds are played, the delta waves are strengthened and sleep becomes deeper and more efficient. The result is improved memory and performance on the next day.
Not only does the sleep state allow the brain to sort, organize and file away memories of the day, but it also is the time when the brain clears, cleans and restores the mind. Specifically, the intense electrical energy of the brain uses up one quarter of the body’s energy. In sleep, the waste from all of this intense energy is cleared and dumped. That is why one can feel refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
In the fascinating Ted Talk below, neuroscientist Jeff Iliff discusses the waste management process of the brain and why having a good night’s sleep will keep you healthy and restored.
So, be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Will see you in your dreams!