Are you sleeping enough to finish your brain’s wash cycle?

It might seem surprising but when you fall asleep tonight, the dishwasher in your brain will turn on.

It’s a dishwashing system that, if you get enough sleep, will deep clean your brain, wash out toxic waste buildup and possibly keep you from ending up with Alzheimer’s or another dangerous neurological condition.

But just like the one in your kitchen, if it doesn’t work in power wash mode, your brain could be in trouble…

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Metabolic waste and brain health

To manage all the processes the brain performs in a single day, including forming and saving memories and directing the functions of your organs, requires a lot of energy in the form of fuel.

And like any fuel, the nutrients that fuel the brain leave waste products behind. Over time, if your brain’s dishwasher isn’t taking out the trash efficiently, metabolic waste builds up.

The good news is that past research has shown us that as we sleep, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounding the brain enters in and weaves through intricate cellular webs, collecting toxic waste as it travels.

Then to exit the brain, the contaminated fluid has to pass through a barrier before spilling into the lymphatic vessels where it’s carried away by the body’s natural detoxification system.

The thing is, no one knew where the “start button” was that powers the movement of the fluid into, through and out of the brain…

Unitll Washington University researchers set out to gain a better understanding of what’s happening.

While studying the brains of sleeping mice, they discovered it’s tiny little neurons in the brain (the brain cells that send signals to your body) that drive cleaning efforts.

“These neurons are miniature pumps. Synchronized neural activity powers fluid flow and removal of debris from the brain,” explained first author Li-Feng Jiang-Xie, PhD, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Pathology & Immunology. “If we can build on this process, there is the possibility of delaying or even preventing neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, in which excess waste — such as metabolic waste and junk proteins — accumulate in the brain and lead to neurodegeneration.”

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Better sleep for a better brain

So considering how important sleep is to your brain health, what can you do to improve your sleep quality so that your brain’s dishwasher can go to work?

Here are a few easy tricks to help you sleep better:

  • Kick the junk food habit – Research has shown that eating junk food interferes with your ability to get the deep sleep you need to restore your brain health. Stick to organic fruit as well to avoid pesticides that steal sleep.
  • Avoid blue light from electronics, especially in the evening. Research has repeatedly proven that exposure to blue light is a powerful sleep disruptor.
  • Take a bath – A very interesting study found that a warm bath could be the key to better sleep – if you time it just right.
  • Try L-theanine – L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, fights the stress that keeps you from slipping into dreamland by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels. And, it even works to elevate levels of a brain chemical known as GABA that promotes sleep and relaxation.
  • Balance your gut – The microbes in your gut play a powerful role in your gut-brain axis and therefore your circadian rhythm. This makes prebiotics and probiotics a must in your better sleep plan.

Remember, with better sleep comes a better brain. So start taking steps now to support your sleep and keep the dishwasher in your brain running strong.

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Neurons help flush waste out of brain during sleep — ScienceDaily

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

By Dr. Adria Schmedthorst

Dr. Adria Schmedthorst is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic, with more than 20 years of experience. She has dedicated herself to helping others enjoy life at every age through the use of alternative medicine and natural wellness options. Dr. Schmedthorst enjoys sharing her knowledge with the alternative healthcare community, providing solutions for men and women who are ready to take control of their health the natural way.