Sleep… We all know we should get more right?
We all know that we feel clearer and perform better when we are graced with the sense of being well rested and fresh.
But how often does that happen?
Work won’t wait. Life won’t slow down. And you can sleep when you’re dead anyway right?
There are lots of topics surrounding sleep that we could get into here: How much do we need? Do our needs change? Is there an optimum bedtime? What effects sleep quality and how can we control this? What is happening physiologically to repair and regenerate your systems when you are sleeping? This week it is just one form of regeneration that I wish to highlight, and it is possibly the most important. What I want to emphasise is simple to grasp and an undeniably good reason to make sure you are getting enough sleep.
Sleeping cleans your brain!
Simply put, if you don’t sleep, the housework inside your head does not get done. No-one likes a messy house now do they?
Check out the short clip below from neuroscientist Jeff Iliff. He clearly illustrates and explains the physiological basis behind those sleep associated ‘ups and downs’ we have all experienced.
How many of you have had your computer tell you that there are updates ready. And then the computer gives you 3 options; run updates now, set a time/date, or snooze/remind me later.
So you hit not now/remind me later because you’ve got work to do now and those updates can wait. A couple of weeks roll by, perhaps a month, and now you’re noticing your computer is freezing, it’s running slower and programs keep having errors and shutting down.
Well I want to put this to you: I want you to think of your brain as your computer. You are the operating system and program updates can only be done when you are not working ie. they can only be done when you sleep. The more you put these updates off, the more inefficient your brain becomes. I want you to become aware of the signs that your brain is in need of cleaning and updating; the forgetfulness, the brain-fog, the clumsiness, the stress of not feeling up to the tasks in front of you, and the need for stimulants like caffeine, sugar and carbs to pick up those energy levels.
Don’t let these get away on you. Recognise the symptoms! Treat the cause!
And if feeling fresh, clear headed, and performing to your best aren’t motivation enough, you might just save yourself from Alzheimers later on in life. Think about that for a moment.
Now get to bed!