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The Brain Starts to Eat Itself After Chronic Sleep Deprivation

What happens to your brain when it is sleep deprived? That question was the focus of a study covered by New Scientist, and what they discovered made a strong case for the long-term importance of rejuvenating sleep.

Researchers found that worn-out brain cells are rapidly destroyed and digested in mice that are chronically sleep deprived. It is conceivable that this process might offer benefits in the short term, and allows the brain to maintain healthy connections. Long-term, it may be the mechanism behind the increased risk of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Rejuvenating sleep is one of the fundamental foundations of health. According to Science Alert, duration is not the only measure of sleep. Sleep quality matters too. Are you exhausted after sleeping an appropriate amount of time? If you answered yes, then it may be time to figure out what is interfering with your sleep.  

Human beings have been sleeping at night since time immemorial and light exposure can easily disrupt normal sleep cycles. Your pineal gland produces melatonin roughly in approximation to the contrast of bright sun exposure in the day and complete darkness at night. The sleep difficulties that so many experience can often be linked to the absence of a natural sleep environment.

Your health depends on a regular light-dark cycle that, ideally, starts and stops at the same time each day. Late night artificial light exposure can profoundly influence your physical and mental health and well-being. EMF generating devices can severely disrupt circadian rhythms. You should strongly consider removing electronics from the vicinity of your bed and not using them within several hours of turning in.

It may seem challenging at first, but another goal should be creating a sleep environment that is completely free of light. Blackout drapes are an excellent starting point. I highly recommend investing in a pair of blue blocker sunglasses. I call them reverse sunglasses and wear them in most commercial buildings. Artificial blue light should be avoided at all times, and these affordable glasses reduce the harmful impact of high intensity and LED lighting.

A few other easy to implement tweaks are avoiding alcohol, caffeine and other drugs including nicotine for several hours before bed. I also recommend keeping the temperature in your bedroom below 70 degrees F.  Rejuvenating sleep is one of the fundamental foundations of health, but for millions it is a challenge. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help make sleep a respite rather than a source of frustration.

 

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