At the end of a busy day, you may feel like your brain is tired; but, your brain actually works hard while you sleep.
According to Vince Andrich, Executive Vice President at Xact, a new dietary supplement designed to help you gain a mental edge, your brain performs a “housekeeping” process while you sleep, eliminating dead and worn out cells and rebuilding new ones. Your brain uses about 20% of your body’s energy daily, and this housekeeping clears out the metabolic toxins and prepares for new memories and clear thinking. The process only occurs when you’re in deep or REM sleep, which is why good sleep habits are so important.
Andrich explains that humans are “hard wired” to sleep when it’s dark and to be awake when it’s light, because until relatively recently in our evolution, there was no artificial light to keep us awake at night.
The amount of melatonin in your blood stream, which helps control sleep and wake cycles, is controlled by your circadian clock. The morning light creates a natural reduction in melatonin to wake you up.
That’s why the electronics and LED screens that most of us use at bedtime are counter-productive for sleep. The light is unnatural and disrupts your melatonin production, causing your brain to be confused about whether you should be sleeping or awake.
In fact, certain stimuli, like the blue light from chargers, TVs, and other devices, signal to the brain that it’s morning.
Like any other health goal, proper sleep requires a sleep hygiene regimen. The simple concept of sleeping when it’s dark and being awake when it’s light is not as easy as it sounds, especially with the distractions and disruption of those devices.
Andrich recommends a sleep routine that eliminates light, noise, and clutter when it’s time to sleep. Wake up when it becomes light so you’re tired at around the same time each night, keeping a regular schedule, unless you are an overnight worker. Keep your bedroom dark and try not to make a habit of sleeping on the sofa.
If you’re planning to exercise before you sleep, leave time to cool down, and take advantage of your body’s natural tendency to rest after activity. Many of us crave carbs at night. If you’re going to snack, try to limit your carbs and include some protein. But, snack moderately so that your snack doesn’t become a stimulant when it’s time to sleep.
We’ve all heard the expression “sleep like a baby,” but getting a good night’s sleep isn’t child’s play. It requires the same level of discipline and planning as your exercise program. It’s smart to maintain a sensible sleep hygiene regimen. Your brain needs deep or REM sleep to complete its “housekeeping” process so that you can operate at maximum efficiency when you’re awake.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of your housekeeping could happen while you’re sleeping?
For more information on brain health, visit xactmind.com