What We're Reading Now
Why is Sleep So Important?
28 February 2017
Janie read The Sleep Cure: The Fountain of Youth May Be Closer Than You Ever Thought, and appreciated a timely reminder about the importance of sleep.
Sleep is a popular topic at Allison Partners, and I know how important it is from the many times Allison has written about the subject. Even though I am aware of the importance of sleep, getting enough of it is something I still struggle to prioritize sometimes. When I saw Alice Park’s article on Time.com about sleep as the new fountain of youth, I was interested to read more, and see if this new research might help encourage me to change my behaviors.
The whole article is fascinating, but the part I found most interesting focuses on the research of neuroscientist Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, who decided to study the brain during sleep. She uncovered what many scientists now agree to be sleep’s primary function: “to clean out the brain, quite literally, of accumulating debris.” Nedergaard’s research revealed that while the body appears to rest, there is actually a lot happening in the brain. She referred to the brain’s process as a being “like a dishwasher that keeps flushing through to wash the dirt away.” When this nightly wash cycle isn’t performed, or is shortchanged, there can be all kinds of repercussions.
Recent research shows that when the brain revisits the events of the day during sleep, it also works on processing the emotions attached to these memories. When a memory is filed away, it is also stripped of some of the powerful feelings involved, like anger, fear, grief, and joy. In other words, not getting enough sleep can interfere with your ability to let go of strong feelings. This makes perfect sense, and wasn’t something I had considered before. Not getting enough sleep could be causing me to hold onto feelings about things that wouldn’t bother me so much if I were better rested. It’s amazing the number of things that are impacted by our sleep. This article made me think, and strengthened my resolve to go to bed earlier so I can work on getting more hours of sleep each night!