Metabolic

Wake up to the benefits of good sleep – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

Humans are the only species to sacrifice sleep to achieve more in a day. Sleep is, unfortunately, that one aspect that bears the brunt of an ever-busy lifestyle. While we may think we are doing fine with four-five hours of sleep, our body doesn’t respond the same way. It needs at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep aligned with the circadian rhythm.

This is why I stress the importance of good sleep once again. One of four of my patients is sleep-deprived. Common symptoms include brain fog, grogginess, headaches, low mood and memory issues. Some blame this on age, while others on fast-paced lives. But there is no justification good enough to not get enough sleep. When you understand the connection between your brain health and sleep, you’ll understand how important it is to prevent or manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and fend off premature aging.

While one can go on consuming walnuts, Omega 3, and other brain-boosting syrups and concoctions to boost cognitive health, what sleep does is what sleep does—maintain the brain’s plasticity or its ability to adapt to input and process information effectively.

More and more research shows the connection between chronic sleep deprivation and poor brain function. Everybody has experienced that feeling of being stuck, finding it difficult to think, execute, innovate or memorize, all because of poor sleep. Additionally, inadequate sleep can also reduce our capacity to handle emotions and stress. Let’s understand this better. Like every organ, even the brain produces metabolic waste. Wondering when does the brain detox?

It is not an eliminatory organ in that sense, but the brain has a wonderful mechanism of swiping itself clean when we’re in deep slumber. Just like the lymphatic system—our body’s garbage disposal unit—the brain has an intelligently designed glymphatic system, which helps remove metabolic wastes that come from overthinking, stress and information overload. The brain constantly produces toxins and when there is an overload of these patterns, mental fatigue happens.

So what activates the glymphatic system? Deep sleep. When we sleep, our brain shrinks. This creates space for the cerebrospinal fluid to enter specific parts of the brain and ‘wash out’ the waste and extra protein particles like beta-amyloid plaques found in the brain of somebody with Alzheimer’s disease. When there is excess beta-amyloid plaque formation and accumulation, it interrupts communication between the neurons, leading to memory loss, slurring of speech, slow movements and confusion. Toxins breed diseases and the same is the case with the brain. Sleep deprivation also destroys the gray and white matter in your brain—the two main components of brain health, memory and information processing, communication between neurons, and sensory perception.

Science terms cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia as inflammatory conditions. Among several factors, a chronic lack of sleep can increase it. While we can keep popping curcumin supplements to quell inflammation, it cannot be a replacement for sleep. Unfortunately, people are oblivious to all this and only start taking care of their sleep requirements in the later stages of life. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s don’t happen overnight; it’s a slow process that starts gradually. It can be prevented or at least managed better if one prioritises sleep. The quality of your lifestyle and sleep today will determine the quality of your cognitive health tomorrow.

Coutinho practices in the field of Holistic Nutrition – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems

Humans are the only species to sacrifice sleep to achieve more in a day. Sleep is, unfortunately, that one aspect that bears the brunt of an ever-busy lifestyle. While we may think we are doing fine with four-five hours of sleep, our body doesn’t respond the same way. It needs at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep aligned with the circadian rhythm. This is why I stress the importance of good sleep once again. One of four of my patients is sleep-deprived. Common symptoms include brain fog, grogginess, headaches, low mood and memory issues. Some blame this on age, while others on fast-paced lives. But there is no justification good enough to not get enough sleep. When you understand the connection between your brain health and sleep, you’ll understand how important it is to prevent or manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and fend off premature aging. While one can go on consuming walnuts, Omega 3, and other brain-boosting syrups and concoctions to boost cognitive health, what sleep does is what sleep does—maintain the brain’s plasticity or its ability to adapt to input and process information effectively. More and more research shows the connection between chronic sleep deprivation and poor brain function. Everybody has experienced that feeling of being stuck, finding it difficult to think, execute, innovate or memorize, all because of poor sleep. Additionally, inadequate sleep can also reduce our capacity to handle emotions and stress. Let’s understand this better. Like every organ, even the brain produces metabolic waste. Wondering when does the brain detox? It is not an eliminatory organ in that sense, but the brain has a wonderful mechanism of swiping itself clean when we’re in deep slumber. Just like the lymphatic system—our body’s garbage disposal unit—the brain has an intelligently designed glymphatic system, which helps remove metabolic wastes that come from overthinking, stress and information overload. The brain constantly produces toxins and when there is an overload of these patterns, mental fatigue happens. So what activates the glymphatic system? Deep sleep. When we sleep, our brain shrinks. This creates space for the cerebrospinal fluid to enter specific parts of the brain and ‘wash out’ the waste and extra protein particles like beta-amyloid plaques found in the brain of somebody with Alzheimer’s disease. When there is excess beta-amyloid plaque formation and accumulation, it interrupts communication between the neurons, leading to memory loss, slurring of speech, slow movements and confusion. Toxins breed diseases and the same is the case with the brain. Sleep deprivation also destroys the gray and white matter in your brain—the two main components of brain health, memory and information processing, communication between neurons, and sensory perception. Science terms cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia as inflammatory conditions. Among several factors, a chronic lack of sleep can increase it. While we can keep popping curcumin supplements to quell inflammation, it cannot be a replacement for sleep. Unfortunately, people are oblivious to all this and only start taking care of their sleep requirements in the later stages of life. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s don’t happen overnight; it’s a slow process that starts gradually. It can be prevented or at least managed better if one prioritises sleep. The quality of your lifestyle and sleep today will determine the quality of your cognitive health tomorrow. Coutinho practices in the field of Holistic Nutrition – Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems

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