World Brain Day 2023: What Happens When We Sleep? Understanding The Importance Of Sleeping For Brain Health | Health News

Every year on July 22, there is a global healthcare celebration known as World Brain Day, often referred to as International Brain Day. The previous nine years have seen the continuation of this commemoration, which is an important opportunity to spread awareness of all brain disorders.

World Brain Day’s theme is “Brain Health and Disability: Leave No One Behind.” This international movement strives to close the information gap and increase public awareness of impairments to brain health.

In an exclusive conversation with Zee English, Dr Gurneet Singh Sawhney, Sr. Consultant – Neuro & Spine Surgery, Fortis Hospital shares the vital connection between sleep and brain health.

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Dr Gurmeet says, “A healthy work-life balance involves adequate time for sleep and recuperation, which is a challenge these days. But, in pursuit of performance and delivery, people overlook or undervalue the sleep factor, which is very important for a healthy mind and body. Hence, on World Brain Day, let’s understand the importance of sleep and how it is vital for our brain.”

Sleep and Brain Health

There is a definite correlation between well-being and quality sleep. Sleep is vital for maintaining brain function. In neurological terms, proper sleep is essential for brain plasticity, which helps absorb and adapt to new information and experiences.

What happens during Sleep?

Sleep is a biological process in which the brain and body function differently. When sleeping, the brain consolidates memory, removes toxins from the memory and performs Synaptic Pruning. 

Synaptic Pruning is a unique process in which the brain fortifies meaningful neural connections and removes unnecessary neural connections. Memories, information, and fresh knowledge collected are processed, consolidated, and stored in the brain during sleep. 

In inadequate or insufficient sleep, memory consolidation is hampered, with difficulty concentrating and poor cognitive abilities.

Also Read: 5 Food To Eat And To Avoid For Sharper Memory, Better Focus And Brain Health

Why Do We Need Sleep?

The brain removes toxins collected during the day when one is asleep. The waste-clearing system of the brain, viz, the Glymphatic System, is at its peak during sleep to remove toxins, which is possible only with adequate rest. 

Inadequate sleep can increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases too. Hence, sleep treatment is prescribed to patients who have Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and other similar neurodegenerative diseases.

Synaptic Pruning is performed under sleep conditions only and this process will ensure an optimum and efficient neural network, improve cognitive functioning, and support healthy brain development.

Stages of Sleep

Sleep is also classified as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. REM sleep is the sleep experienced during the first 90 minutes after falling asleep. As per research, eyes form sideways at a rapid pace behind closed eyelids. 

The brain’s activity is similar to that during the awake stage while breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure are similar to those recorded when the person is awake. Also, most dreams occur during this stage. On the other hand, in non-REM sleep, there is no rapid eye movement. Both types of sleep are essential for memory consolidation. Also, they repeat every 90 minutes.

Tips for Better Sleep and Healthy Brian

‘How can I get better sleep’? is the most often-asked question relating to sleep. One should sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Avoiding consuming alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. 

It is advisable to exercise regularly but not very late during the day. It is essential to keep the sleeping area away from noises, bright lights, TV, computers, etc. One should undergo a medical evaluation if one experiences any sleep disorder.

Also Read: 5 Natural Ingredients For Stronger, Longer And Healthier Hair

Sleep is a fundamental necessity for overall health and well-being. With healthy sleeping habits and quality sleep, it is possible to optimize the full potential of the brain, which is one of the most powerful organs of the human body.

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