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Your Sleep Sweeper

Everyone knows that restful sleep is essential for physical and mental restoration and healing. A recent study showed what happens in our brains while we sleep. When we sleep, our brains undergo a mop-up process that removes waste products that result from normal nerve activity and metabolism.

High tech imaging was used to look deep into the brains of mice (considered surprisingly very similar to human brains) and researchers discovered that the brain functions differently while asleep than awake, ridding itself of accumulated proteins/waste at a much faster rate. The waste clean-up is 10 times (!) more active while sleeping than awake and its primary purpose is to remove protein plaques that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

One of the most surprising discoveries was that brain cells actually shrink as much as 60% to create more space between them. With brain cells smaller and the space between them larger, the cleanup happens by allowing cerebrospinal fluid to flow through the spaces between nerve cells more freely. As a result, these protein plaques and other waste are swept away and enter the circulatory system to be taken away and broken down.
Sleeping Tips
1. Stick to the same schedule nightly – your internal clock is better regulated
2. Turn off your phone/tablet/computer/screen – they stimulate your brain before bed and train your body that bed is for something other than sleeping and intimacy
3. Turn lights down before bed – if done consistently, your nerve system senses it as a signal that it’s time to wind down and sleep is coming next
4. Make sure your bed and pillow are serving you well – firm is (almost) always better and a pillow that fits your correctly is essential
5. Keep a journal or notebook nearby – if ideas or thoughts come into your head, jot them down on paper and see it as a mental “dump” to help clear your mind

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