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Deep Sleep Lets the Brain 'Take Out the Trash'

By Sandy Schroeder

I often follow Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz's featured health questions because they relate to issues that I need help with. Their recent look at deep sleep hit the nail right on the head, when they said, "Deep sleep allows your brain to 'take out the trash.'"

We all carry around vast quantities of worries, facts, impressions, and other distracting details in our brain. If we never get enough sleep which includes deep sleep, all sorts of undesirable things happen. I know. When that happens to me I become irritable, reactionary, and often unable to think clearly.

On the other hand, if I actually get 7 to 9 hours of sleep several nights in a normal week, my brain has time to sort through "the good, the bad and the ugly," and discard the toxic waste.

Dr. Oz (yes, that one) and Dr. Roizen say that brain trash keeps all of us from participating effectively in the present. When we do get enough deep sleep, life improves immeasurably as perceptive skills sharpen and performance accelerates. When I get enough sleep I find myself polishing work off in half the time, and actually smiling at the end of the day as I head out for the prospect of a relaxing evening. Life is good, or at least much improved.,

Researchers Agree

Sleep researchers from Boston University provide the backup for this theory. They say if you want to hang onto your ability to be up and running right now, you need to take out the brain's trash every night.

Their recent study published in Science showed, "during non-REM, rapid eye movement sleep, neurons temporarily stop firing, blood flow to the brain decreases, and the brain becomes bathed with cerebrospinal fluid."

Researchers believe this process helps flush metabolic byproducts such as beta amyloids from the brain to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and protect memory.

Other researchers report similar findings in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. They found sleep-deprived people triple their risk for spacing out and double their risk for inability to keep their place when they are interrupted.

Get the Sleep You Need to Enjoy Life Now

Make sure you get 7 to 9 hours sleep every night.

  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet
  • Eliminate financial, health, family worries as much as possible
  • Go to sleep the same time every night
  • Boot out electronics with blue lights
  • Skip spicy foods, smoking and alcohol right before bedtime
  • Meditate every evening

Then take out the trash.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pearland, Tex.,

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