Sleep is Good for the Brain

Maintaining good brain health is important to our overall well-being. Many people don’t even think about caring for their brain until they start to notice a cognitive decline. There are many things we can be doing to keep our brain healthy:

Physical activity – regular exercise boosts blood flow to the brain

Mental stimulation – activities like word/jigsaw puzzles, math problems, playing cards, reading, learning a new language, learning how to play an instrument, drawing/painting, crafts, etc.

Healthy eating – a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and protein sources derived from plants

Avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol intake.

The Importance of Sleep

Another important factor for keeping our brain healthy – and is often overlooked — is sleep. The Canadian Sleep Society explains:

We sleep for example to memorize and learn. This means that while we’re sleeping, brain cells (i.e., neurons) are busy consolidating memories and learning, sorting, and storing all kinds of experiences we had during the day. This makes sleep a fundamental ally in the learning process. During sleep, the brain also removes the metabolic waste it produces during the day. It is also during slow waves sleep when the growth hormone is secreted in children and adolescents.

An insufficient amount of sleep – most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night — has consequences. It can affect your mood, making you irritable and sleepy, lead to lapses in attention, reduced cognition, delayed reactions, and hinder memory consolidation mechanisms.

Additionally, lack of sleep has been linked to a higher risk for certain diseases and medical conditions. These include obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, poor mental health, and early death.

Sleep Foundation has some tips for a better night’s sleep:

  • Establish a realistic bedtime and stick to it every night, even on the weekends
  • Maintain comfortable temperature settings and low light levels in your bedroom
  • Keep a comfortable sleep environment by ensuring you have the best mattress, best pillows, and best sheets for your sleep preferences and body type
  • Consider a “screen ban” on televisions, computers and tablets, cell phones, and other electronic devices in your bedroom
  • Abstain from caffeine, alcohol, and large meals in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • Refrain from using tobacco at any time of day or night
  • Exercise during the day; this can help you wind down in the evening and prepare for sleep

Sources:  The Canadian Sleep Society, Sleep Foundation

We hope that after reading this blog, you’ll make sleep a priority. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to get a better night’s sleep, book a consultation with Well and Truly RX. Book now.

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health-care regimen.