What happens to our brain while we’re asleep?

What happens to our brain while we’re asleep?

Enhancing memories
When we are sleeping, even though we are in an unconscious resting state, our brains are still busy doing a little housework, cleaning up the filing cabinet so to speak. One of the things the brain does is form new memories and consolidate older ones. So if you’re having problems with your memory maybe all you need is some extra shut-eye. Why? Well, the area of the brain involved in memory is thought to be significantly affected by lack of sleep. You only have to see parents with newborn babies to realise what affect lack of sleep has on brain function and the ability to think straight.

So sleep is not only important for everyone, but particularly for those that are learning or taking exams; because the brain needs to rejuvenate during sleep so it can consolidate the new information for better recall later on, enabling the brain to prepare better to form memory recall and as well as save and file the new information into the brain so you don’t forget.

Makes creative connections
Sleep can be a powerful creativity-booster as the mind in an unconscious resting state can make surprising new connections that it perhaps wouldn’t have made in a waking state.

Sometimes our conscious mind gets in the way of our subconscious brain preventing us from thinking clearly, especially when it comes to creativity. Not good for those of us working in creative industries. Our unsubconcious brain enables us to think how and what we want, enabling us to use our imagination, which enhances creativity and associations with what we already know and what we imagine, resulting in new ideas and thoughts.

Ever wonder if your brain needs to detox? Well apparently it does, because while you are asleep toxins that have built up in your brain during the day are sent to detoxification organs such as the liver or kidneys to process and eliminate, preventing them from building up. Toxins accumulating in the brain have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“Researchers at the University of Rochester found that during sleep, the brains of mice clear out damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration. The space between brain cells actually increased while the mice were unconscious, allowing the brain to flush out the toxic molecules that built up during waking hours.” This is because during sleep the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord is released which washes away dead cells and toxins, which are really important for long-term brain health.

Learning and remembering how to perform physical tasks.
The brain stores information into long-term memory during what are called sleep spindles. Sleep spindles are short bursts of brain waves that occur at strong frequencies during the REM stage of sleep. REM sleep occurs when there is rapid eye movement and this is when information is stored into long-term memory. Not getting enough sleep causes blockages of new information from being saved into memory or the “brain archive”. This is where the brain transfers short-term memories stored in the motor cortex to the temporal lobe, where they become long-term memories.

This process is very important for storing information related to motor tasks such as driving and performing sports. So if you want to enhance your game of golf get more sleep.

Got a big decision to make – sleep on it. Sleeps helps you make decisions…
Sleep helps us become more decisive and make decisions. When we’re asleep the brain quietly processes the information it has received throughout the day and works through problems to provide answers. So instead of making hasty decisions on the spot, allow the brain to weigh up all factors during sleep, by combining conscious thoughts with unconscious processing.

Getting adequate sleep, but still showing signs of a sluggish brain? Do you regularly find yourself forgetting little things like where you put the TV remote; forget people’s names; words being on the tip of your tongue but just can’t quite bring them to mind; finding that keeping up with younger people at work is becoming more difficult, or not retaining newly learned information e.g. using a new computer program. If you’re concerned about long-term brain health take a look at Good Health Mind Sharp™. Mind Sharp™ provides essential nutrition for your brain to support clear thinking, mental sharpness and brain function, specifically formulated to keep you ‘on your game’. Mind Sharp™ contains the key nutrients Phosphatidylserine (PS) - a key component of cell membranes that is concentrated in the brain. It’s particularly important for the maintenance of brain pathways and nerve cell communications and because modern diets don’t supply sufficient PS, sometimes supplementation is of benefit. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil support brain function, and iodine is also important for brain and intellectual development with Vitamin B12 and Folic acid to support clear thinking, mental sharpness and healthy brain function.

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