Ease the chaos- by doing at least one thing “Sleep”
The hustle and bustle of our lives never seems to end: dealing with customers, walking the dogs, handling paperwork, family obligations, work, bills, house chores, creating more time for our friends, etc. The list is endless.
Imagine what our brains feel like at the end of a typical day of thinking and going into continuous information overload. A new research study presents a new theory on sleep and how our brains start clean out while we sleep.
Jeffrey Iliff, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Peri-Operative Medicine explains what he and his colleagues found in 2013 Sleep study, “ The brain puts off house cleaning away while we are awake and then does house cleaning while we are asleep.” He was asked to join Dr. Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, that focused on the brain-wide, waste-clearance pathway.
This team of researchers built their findings based on previous work that had identified what’s called the glymphatic system. “We’ve known for a long time that the brain lacks a traditional lymphatic system,” says study co-author Rashid Deane, a neurologist at URMC. “But the glymphatic system, we now know, eliminates waste buildup instead.”
Using 2-photon microscopy imaging was used on mice to see how the glymphatic system functioned during sleep. What they discovered is that there increase in activity was ten-fold in comparison to animals that had been awake all night. Co-author Rashid Deane, a neurologist at URMC says, “This tell us that sleep appears to be significant in helping the brain eliminate unwanted byproducts.”
In order for us to accomplish all the things we need to do on a daily basis, getting sleep restores our mental energy. One of the best ways to understand how the brain clears out all the gunk, is to think about what happens when we don’t sleep. Lack of sleep affects our thinking, cognitive reasoning and how we feel physically. Sleep-deprived people fall asleep involuntarily, taking “micro sleeps” they can’t control.
If you find yourself having to leave post it notes everywhere to help remind you of what needs to get done, pressing on the horn longer than necessary or having difficulty concentrating; your sleep schedule may be the culprit of why you are not as productive as you would like to be the BBC report details.
“Deep sleep sounds restful, but during it our brains are actually working hard. One of the main things the brain is doing is moving memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, allowing us more short-term memory space for the next day. If you don’t get adequate deep sleep then these memories will be lost.”
A lot of people think that getting sleep is just a waste of time. They think if they just throw in another load of laundry, continue to text, or send out one more email right before bed is actually counterproductive.
You ask this is great information but how do I find the time to sleep?
Here are a few time saving strategies to help you save time and catch more zzz’s.
- Set the coffee pot to brew before you wake up in the morning.
- Program your favorite TV shows into the DVR to save for the weekend.
- Throw together some oats in the slow cooker and by the time you wake up your breakfast will be ready.
- Have your clothes out the next day.
- Keep a gym bag in the car.
- On a door hanger: set aside your to-do list, books you need to take back to the library, keys and sunglasses.
- Reduce your commitments by saying “No.” to people.
These are a few ways to set up the foundation of your day and still let you get some rest in between an unpredictable schedule.
The determination and drive to do more and be more is great. Just know and realize that the quickest way to get to where you want to be is to slow down, relinquish control of everything at least for the night and get some much needed sleep. Trust me, your brain will thank you. J