brain sleep

One Simple Way to Clean Your Brain Cells

One Simple Way to Clean Your Brain Cells

One Simple Way to Clean Your Brain Cells

If you are not getting enough sleep you should start now. Research shows while you sleep your brain stays busy flushing toxins from your brain cells which may reduce your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s Disease.

A study conducted on mice found that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid increases substantially during sleeping hours, it cleans brain cells by removing harmful waste proteins that your brain produces during waking hours.

Brain cells shrink while you snooze, making more space for cleanup. “Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state,” explained Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuro-Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, a leader of the study.

One Simple Way to Clean Your Brain Cells

This action cleans away the byproducts of activities we perform during our busy time, including beta-amyloid protein, clumps of which form plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

This is just one repercussion of not getting enough sleep. Scientists explain when we don’t get enough sleep we prevent our brain from performing cleanup activity, which is why we suffer from sleep deprivation, a sleep-deprived body has slower reaction times, a weaker immune system, and many other problems.

The study found that our glymphatic system is about 10 times more active when we sleep. It was also found that the brain undergoes physical changes that assist the system to perform the function faster and more efficiently.

There seems to be some confusion as to why different animals require different hours of sleep. For example, cats require more than 12 hours sleep, while elephants sleep only about 3 hours or so. Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel believes that such variation is probably linked brain size. Larger brains have more space between cells to accumulate toxins and don’t require as much work to clean, while smaller brains take more work as there is not as much space between cells.

sleep on brain

The technique two-photon microscopy was used to monitor the movement of cerebrospinal fluid in a mouse brain in real time. Study author Lulu Xie put the mouse to sleep and added fluorescent dye to the fluid. During sleep the fluid was noted to move rapidly due to increased space between cells, another study found that the space between brain cells increases by 60%, which makes room for the fluid to flow freely and flush toxins.

When the mouse was woke up Xie again injected the dye and observed the movement, when awake the movement of the fluid was substantially constrained.

The reason your brain needs rest to do this is because the entire process requires a lot of energy and it’s not possible for the brain to perform multiple functions efficiently. Our brains require rest. Prolonged lack of sleep may even result in death. The cleaning process has not yet been observed in humans but there seems to be a link between human brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and sleep. Researchers that study Alzheimer’s also believe there is some possibility to control the disease. Randall Bateman, a Professor of Neurology at Washington University in St. Louis says, “It does raise the possibility that one might be able to actually control sleep in a way to improve the clearance of beta amyloid and help prevent amyloidosis that we think can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.” Bateman was not involved in this study.

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10 Sleep Mistakes We’re Still Making

10 Sleep Mistakes We're Still Making

10 Sleep Mistakes We’re Still Making

Throughout history, people have made countless mistakes when it comes to sleeping. Proper sleeping patterns will follow someone throughout their life and it is up to them whether or not that late night talk show is worth it.

Sleep Mistakes We're Still Making

Not Getting Enough Sleep:
The biggest mistake that most people make with their sleeping habits is just not getting enough of it! As psychology class explains, the body needs enough time to go through all the stages of sleep in order to properly repair itself. 7 to 9 hours is the proper amount of sleep for most individuals.

Drinking Caffeine:
Caffeine goes directly into the blood stream and needs enough time to get through someone’s system before it lets the body calm down. Keep in mind that there should be eight hours between caffeine and a proper bed time, meaning one that does not start at three in the morning.

Late Night Alcohol:
Alcohol needs at least three hours to get through the system before going to bed. If it is still going through the system when someone does go to bed, it will effect them in the morning. The body will not be prepared for being awake and it will literally drag the rest of the day.

Sleeping with a Cell Phone:
Cell phones need to be either on a table away from the bed or out of the room entirely. In order to get a good nights sleep, the brain needs to unplug. There are also theories that signals going through the phone can be damaging to the brain and sleeping with a phone next to the head may not be the wisest choice.

Sleeping with a Laptop:
Again, signals going through electronic devices, such as laptops or tablets, can be damaging to the brain and the mental psyche. These devices can also light up throughout the night and cause an individual to wake up before they should, so these devices are best left away from the bedroom.

Checking Emails:
Computers should be turned off and put up one hour before bed. The brain needs that time to wind down and disconnect. Emails only keep the mind spinning, and a spinning mind does not turn off just because the computer is closed. Also, people should wait at least five minutes in the morning to check their email so the brain has a chance to wake up.

Watching Television:
There should be an hour in between watching TV and going to bed. Watching a lighted screen and then going straight into sleep mode can be damaging to the brain and makes it extremely difficult to get to sleep. The brain needs to be unplugged from electricity in order to wind down.

No Relaxation Period:
The mind and the body need a relaxation period in order to have proper sleeping patterns. Reading a book or taking a bath are great choices before bed. All electronics, noise and high-activity should cease to exist an hour before bed.

Eating Before Bed:
The body needs the right amount of time to digest food before going to sleep. Not only will the food not digest properly while someone is lying down, but it can be stored as fat. It can also make sleeping difficult as the body is awake and working to digest the food rather than calming down.

Hitting the Snooze Button:
The problem with the snooze button is that the mind is not fully awake and cannot comprehend how many times it has been pressed, thus making someone late to work or school. It is better to set two or three alarms rather than relying on the snooze button to get someone up on time.

Good sleeping habits are essential to healthy living. If people can come together and stop making the same basic mistakes, the world might find itself to actually be awake.


Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You – Are We Doing It Wrong?

Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You – Are We Doing It Wrong?

Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You – Are We Doing It Wrong?

We all know we’re supposed to get a good night’s sleep, but many of us struggle to fall asleep, let alone stay asleep. It seems every week there’s a new article or product available to help us sleep better for longer. We keep electronics in another room, exercise in the afternoon, stop watching TV and using the computer at least an hour before bed, don’t sleep with your phone, change your sheets every two weeks and your pillowcases every week, blah-blah… However the truth of the matter is, when it comes to sleep, eight hours is probably a gross estimation – meaning we should be getting LESS, not more.

Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You

That being said, you shouldn’t be trying to operate on less than six. The magic number for most people to be at peak condition is actually seven hours. Those who sleep five or less hours a night are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, as are those who sleep more than seven (including naps).

In fact, humans aren’t supposed to be sleeping for a solid block at all. Sleep studies conducted on humans have discovered that when all electric lights are removed, people sleep for three to four hours at a time with an hour to ninety minutes of activity followed by another three to four hour block. Ideally speaking, we should all be getting around seven hours, according to Discovery Health.

As we get older, we actually need less sleep. After testing nearly 500 elderly women, they found that those who slept less than five hours and more than six and a half had higher mortality rates.

So why do so many people think eight is the ideal amount of sleep? Years ago there was data collected from young adults who reported that they slept seven and a half hours during the work week and eight and half during the weekend. As time passed, the average amount somehow morphed into the target we should all aim for. So, why eight? Because it’s the average, simple answer.

Too much sleep, however, can lead to obesity, diabetes, and, as mentioned before, cardiovascular disease. The good news is, cognitive functions and memory don’t appear to be affected by oversleeping – however, they are affected when people get too little sleep. In fact, the short term effects of too little sleep are striking and quite worrisome. Lack of sleep causes more stress, causing more cortisol, causing weight gain, which causes stress, leading to lack of sleep, which makes more cortisol, ad nauseum. If you’re not sleeping well, you have a lesser quality of life, have difficulty paying attention, and are more prone to having an auto collision or occupational injury – YIKES!

So, if you’re averaging two naps a day and feel fully rested – you’re probably fine. That doesn’t mean to skip the doctor, but if it works for you, don’t worry about it. Don’t listen to your friends who brag about being “champion sleepers.” However, if you think you or a loved one is chronically under-sleeping, bring it up at the next check-up. If it’s insomnia, get to your family physician as soon as you can.

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Why Sleep is Important for You

Why Sleep is Important for You

Why Sleep is Important for You

Getting a good night’s sleep is more important than you may think.

The importance of sleep is definitely underestimated by the general public. Some people may say all they need is five hours of sleep and if they’re getting that they’re good to go, but what they’re not realizing is that they’re probably not functioning at their full potential.

Sleep is much more than simple rest. The brain and body don’t shut down during sleep; rather, they perform important tasks that promote both mental and physical health, such as producing hormones that help repair cells and fight off illness. Proper sleep contributes significantly to feeling better and functioning better when awake.

A 2011 Swedish study found that “sleep-deprived people appear less healthy, less attractive and more tired compared with when they are well rested.” Conversely, according to volumes of research, inadequate sleep can cause people to be irritable, have slower response times, make unwise decisions, have trouble with relationships, perform poorly at work or school and become depressed more easily, not to mention increasing the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cognitive difficulties and other medical problems.

In fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing societal factors such as round-the-clock access to technology and the incidence of disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, has called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

Why Sleep is Important for You

The amount of sleep a person needs depends upon their age. Generally, newborns require 16 to 18 hours daily, preschoolers 11 to 12 hours, school-age children and teenagers at least 10 hours and adults (including seniors) between seven and eight hours.

There are some individuals, whom we call ‘short sleepers,’ who probably will do OK with maybe only six hours, and at the other extreme there are ‘long sleepers,’ who require nine or 10 hours, but the percentage of these extremes are very small. Most of us, after adolescence, really need seven or eight hours of sleep, and on a regular basis.

It’s not just the amount of time spent sleeping that counts. There’s a quality factor, too.

There are people who, for example, say that they can drink coffee and don’t have trouble sleeping, but that’s simply not true. They may not have trouble falling asleep but the quality of their sleep is not what they need. They don’t have the deep sleep that is the most restful, or they have trouble waking up.

The same is true with alcohol, having a drink before going to bed may help you fall asleep but the quality of sleep isn’t good, so you’re probably not going to feel rested at all the next day.

The first thing anyone who has, or thinks they may have, a sleeping problem should do is practice appropriate sleep hygiene, but what if following the tips: allowing sufficient time for sleep, going to bed and waking up the same time every day, removing distractions from the bedroom, doesn’t help?

The next step should be to see a doctor, either a primary care physician or a sleep specialist, because many sleeping problems are caused by other health or medical issues. Insomnia, for example, can be a reaction to a prescription drug, while restless leg syndrome is linked to iron deficiency.


Why Sleep is Important for You
By PositiveMed Team
Edited By Stephanie Dawson

Most Popular sleep

8 Things Not to Do Before Bed

8 Things Not to Do Before Bed

8 Things Not to Do Before Bed

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Almost everyone wants to sleep better and feel more rested when they awake in the morning. A good way to encourage this is to avoid certain habits before going to bed that can keep one awake or prevent restful, full-REM sleep.

  1. Avoid stimulants, including food. Caffeine, exercise, sugary foods, spicy foods; actually, all food in general. Put away the ice cream, celery, and cereal. Exercise is a great idea – but do it during the day. Exercising before bed will keep one awake due to the invigorating effects of exercise. Exercise can help one sleep more soundly at night, but only if it’s done several hours beforehand. Try not to exercise within three hours of bedtime, as it can raise one’s body temperature and make dozing off more difficult. You can try these bedtime yoga moves in your bed.
  2. Don’t take a hot shower or bath at least an hour before bed. Much like exercise, a hot shower or bath before bed may seem like a good idea at the time, but it also can raise the body’s internal temperature and make it more difficult to sleep. Try to allow the body time to cool off before hopping between the sheets. Being overheated or sweating can impede slumber.
  3. Avoid caffeine. Seems like an obvious choice but we are including it anyway. Try not to have anything caffeinated after 4 pm. The body’s natural cycle starts to wind down after this time and keeping it stimulated can mess with one’s internal ‘clock,’ throwing off its natural rhythm and causing sleep disruptions. Alcohol can also cause sleep disruptions, but drinking a lot of any liquid within the last hour or two before going to bed will lead to those dreaded late-night bathroom breaks, and further disrupt slumber. Don’t go to bed thirsty, either, as it’ll cause one to wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water. Balance is key here.
  4. drinking coffee before bed

  5. Food is problematic because sometimes, one is simply too hungry to sleep, however this is a sign that one is not getting enough protein or fiber in their diet, which causes the body to feel hungry. The body does need fuel to sleep, but eating right before bed can cause problems as it takes energy to digest and gravity has a major role in the digestive process. If one lies down right after eating, it robs the body of that much-needed gravity and causes gastro-intestinal issues, the least of which include symptoms of heartburn and/or nausea.
  6. Things Not to Do Before Bed source:

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  7. Try not to watch TV or surf the web at least an hour before retiring for the night. Studies show that pre-slumber screen time can impede the body’s ability to fall asleep. The likely culprit? The bright lights of these screens can hinder the development of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep.
  8. In the same vein, don’t work (including homework) or have an argument right before going to sleep. That old adage of not going to bed angry is true here. These things can keep the mind whirring until late into the night, causing mental distress and losing valuable sleep-time. Whatever the issue is, it can certainly wait until morning.
  9. Avoid engrossing reads! Many of us have done this: reading a really interesting novel and tell yourself, “Oh, just one more page!” Suddenly, it’s 2AM and the alarm will be going off in four hours. Definitely, reading a really interesting book, essay or novel before bed will make it difficult to get to sleep. Perhaps try reading the most boring thing imaginable? Read the manual for an electronic that’s stuffed away somewhere in the house or print off a Terms of Use Agreement.
  10. Don’t cuddle with a pet. It may seem like a good idea to let Fido or Prissy into the bed, but the reality is that six-pound terrier can take up a lot of space and isn’t going to be happy if accidentally rolled over on or woken when its owner decides to move in their sleep. Not to mention pets will sleep a couple hours, then get up to investigate another part of the house, which can disturb one’s sleep. Even if you don’t fully wake up when the pet leaves the bed, it will still disrupt the REM cycle.

    According to a study by Mayo Clinic, more than half of the insomnia patients seeking consultations at Mayo Clinic sleep clinic are pet owners complaining of nightly sleep disturbances by their furry companions [source].

insomnia treatment

8 Things Not to Do Before Bed

By Khrystyana Kirton
Edited By Stephanie Dawson
[Last Updated on July 29th 2014]


health Skin Care

What You Should Know About Melatonin

What You Should Know About Melatonin

The pineal gland, a small endocrine gland about the size of a pea, has been known as the third eye. It is known as the seat of the human soul, which could be because it is located near the center of the brain, between the two hemispheres. It produces the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal body clock and sleeps cycle. and some people attribute a special power to the pineal gland and associate it with the sixth chakra, which can be awakened to enable telepathic communication.

Melatonin may have a role in protecting you against cancer. It also supports the immune system. Its production has many benefits for the body since it is a powerful and versatile antioxidant that fights some of the most dangerous free radicals in the body, but unlike other antioxidants, melatonin easily diffuses into all cells and even crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect the delicate brain.
During sleep, a great deal of cellular damage that occurs during the day is repaired and that repair process is initiated by secretions of melatonin. Because disturbed sleep so often accompanies aging, anything that can help us sleep better might be something to take note of. It is also helpful to have quality sleep time, otherwise, it can reduce the secretion of growth hormone, an important hormone that helps us keep muscle and lose fat.

Some people use melatonin for Alzheimer’s disease, ringing in the ears, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, migraine and other headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bone loss (osteoporosis), a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD), epilepsy, as an anti-aging agent, for menopause, and for birth control.

Other uses include breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head cancer, neck cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. Melatonin is also used for some of the side effects of cancer treatment (chemotherapy) including weight loss, nerve pain, weakness, and a lowered number of clot-forming cells (thrombocytopenia).

Melatonin levels peak is about 2 a.m. in normal, healthy young people and about 3 a.m. in elderly people. At sunset, the cessation of light triggers neural signals, which stimulate the pineal gland to begin releasing melatonin.