While the exact amount of sleep that is needed to function at your best is extremely individualized but the general recommendations is at least 7 hours per night. A LOT of you out there probably just chuckled to yourself thinking that there is no way that is even possible. If you have young children at home, like me, it seems like a stretch just to get 5 good hours of sleep in a night to keep yourself moving in the right direction the next day. Recently there have been studies completed that should with prolonged periods of sub-optimal sleep there can be an accumulation of metabolites in your brain that can clog up one of the gutter systems within your skull. This system has been dubbed the Glymphatic System after a combination of glia and the lymphatic systems. These studies went on to show that the brain can either actively process information or it can clean out these metabolites, specifically beta amyloid, to help your brain function better. With the relative cognitive downtime that sleep can provide the clearing up of the junk in between your ears can be kicked into high gear. If you have ever had a period of time when you did not sleep great and felt that fog/delay in your head and then you get a good night’s sleep you know the effects already. Chances are that you will wake up refreshed and feel that your brain is just working better with much greater clarity. Just how this will effect you and your day specifically will be as different as we all are but the odds are that you will have a more productive and positive day/night.
Do you want more of the specifics and technical information on just how sleep provides neuroprotective functions to your brain? Read this article and feed yourself some knowledge that will help you along the road of life.
Christopher Foust, DC, DACBSP