Sleep deficit you chalk-off as, “no big deal” actually creates a decreasing tolerance within your body and brain with dangerous implications more than just tired and sleepy daytime symptoms. Underlying causes of sleep disorders are as diverse as individuals but the consequences are now scientifically linked to cognitive decline, memory loss, brain-fog, premature aging, and even Alzheimer’s.
- Your brain clears toxins—it does NOT sleep, parts of it actually get more active at night than during the day. According to brain researcher, P.M. Doraiswamy, MD, at Duke University, a newly discovered drainage system called the glymphatic system, goes to work processing and clearing out the brain’s toxins ten times more when we’re sleeping than when we’re awake. A primary protein actively recycled during sleep is responsible for creating amyloid plaque—a marker to Alzheimer’s, although not the only cause.
- Researchers clearly state chronic sleep deprivation (less than 7–8 hours of regenerative sleep) can lead to irreversible brain damage! A study found extended wakefulness injures neurons essential for alertness and cognitive functions—and—damage can be permanent. The studies also showed short sleep cycles are also linked to a shrinking brain. In addition, studies showed chemicals secreted during deeper sleep are vital for repairing the body and brain.
- Your internal brain computer does its work of archiving memories from all that stimuli—auditory, visual and neurosensory—like a hard drive in your computer. AND it cannot do its job adequately on 4–5 hours sleep; memory tests prove it.
- Acetylcholine, a chemical involved in restorative sleep and the dream state, declines in people who begin developing Alzheimer’s because the cells that produce it are destroyed. Lack of deep restorative sleep contributes to destruction of these cells.
- University of Pennsylvania studies found that prolonging wakefulness damages a type of brain cell called locus ceruleus (LC) neurons that play important roles in keeping us alert and awake.
Keep in mind that long-term sleep deprivation saps the brain of its power even after many days of sleep recovery. More recent studies shined a bright light of concern about brain changes from sleep deprivation showing disruptions in gene function that can affect overall metabolism, inflammation, and autoimmune disease risk to the body and vital detox for the brain. The CDC reported sleep deprivation is now “epidemic” in the U.S.—is it any wonder disorders like fibromyalgia and other inflammatory disorders are also “epidemic?” The body AND brain need time to rejuvenate, get professional help to identify underlying causes now or you’ll be forced to once a life-altering disorder develops. There ARE effective non-drug options to get you stress-less restorative sleep, consult your natural health provider.