Our sleep guide with ultimate tips for falling asleep
How does it feel for you when you are sleep? The answer to that would be pretty hard for you to answer. Ideally, you can say after waking up that you had a good sleep, but you can not say what it felt like during your sleep, because sleep is an active process that is controlled by the brain without you being conscious.
To better understand the principle of sleep, you have to look deep into the biochemist box. We will explain briefly and simply what happens to your body when you close your eyes and slide into the land of dreams. There are different phases of sleep that need to be understood and their context.
One speaks of a sleep-wake-rhythm, or of the circadian rhythm. It is a natural rhythm that has been controlling our daily and sleep rhythms for millennia. It is based on the light-dark-change of the environment and is responsible for the fact that you can wake up in the morning and wake up relaxed.
In the UK and the rest of Europe, the melatonin production begins around 9:00 pm, when our body slowly comes to rest after dinner and the stress of everyday life and the sun goes down. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that makes us tired and optimally prepares our body for sleep.
In contrast to a widely held opinion, the body is in the nocturnal recovery anything else inactive. With the invention of EEG (electroencephalography), scientists were able to measure brain activity for the first time and determine that special processes and mechanisms are activated in the brain during sleep.
But scientists are still researching a complete answer to the question of what sleep actually is.
Why is sleep so important to you?
Sleep is a basic need! Those who do not get enough, lack the energy and energy. What exactly happens when sleeping in your brain, why restful sleep is important for your mental performance and how you can sleep better and better, you will learn in the following section.
Unfortunately, sleep has a significant public relations problem and is still not “sexy”. You often brag about how little sleep you can get. Good sleep is the key to more efficiency and better health. Angela Merkel once said that she has camel-like abilities when it comes to sleeping: For days on end, she can get along without much sleep, storing them virtually like camels. This is of course complete nonsense! But success or status is often measured by the hours a person does not sleep. Those who sleep too little experience a strong flattening of their mental capacity.
Whether athlete or office athlete, sleep controls all regenerative processes and is essential for the health of your body. It is an active process and affects many different areas of your health and performance. Numerous top athletes such. The US basketball player LeBron James, have recognized the importance of sleep for performance and sleeps up to 10 hours daily, the European average is 8 hours. However, the quality of sleep is much more important than the duration and both factors are very individual. So it may be that you recover well with 6.5 or 7 hours.
Sleep and your health
If you do not get enough quality sleep, you will get sick. Although this is not a law of nature, there are always exceptions, but lack of sleep leads in many cases to a worsened health, especially in the long term.
The risk of stroke in men is four times higher if they suffer from poor sleep quality. The same is true for other diseases – those who sleep poorly, in which the risk of illness is usually higher, as compared to those who sleep at night and thoroughly sleep through. So we regenerate in sleep. This helps the glyphatic system, virtually the garbage disposal of your brain.
When you sleep, all the toxins and wastes that are produced in the brain during the day are removed. While you are sleeping, your thinking apparatus is once thoroughly rinsed and cleaned up. Without the glyphphatic system, your brain can not function. It is thus responsible that you wake up in the morning with a clear mind and full of energy to start the day.
Take-home message: Whoever sleeps less is dead sooner! Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. The less you sleep, the more vulnerable your body is to a variety of diseases. Sleep is the biggest lever, so you are healthy and can fully exploit your potential.
Sleep is important for the brain
One third of our life is spent sleeping. Of course, sleep brings energy back to us and lifts our spirits. But what happens in the brain when we sleep, and how much sleep is good for us?
Of course, we recover in our sleep. But that does not mean that our brain is inactive during sleep, quite the contrary! The nerve cells in the brain are almost as active during sleep as when awake. The difference is that in sleep, the brain can concentrate on itself. So it’s not surprising that sleep is extremely important to the brain and a range of cognitive functions.
4 activities of the brain during sleep
There used to be no idea what sleep was for, but in the meantime, neuroscience has at least four major and quite amazing activities that the brain performs during sleep:
1. As we sleep, the brain processes information and makes decisions. These decisions can then be executed as soon as we are awake.
2. The brain creates and consolidates memories. At certain stages of sleep, impressions and facts taken during the day are consolidated in long-term memory and linked to existing memories. This is extremely important for learning and memory. These include motor skills such as cycling, playing tennis or dancing, which are only properly stabilized during sleep.
3. Sleep can also be a powerful creativity booster. While the mind is in an unconscious state of rest, it can make surprising new connections that it would never have come to while awake.
4. In 2013, a series of studies showed that the brain also uses sleep for a kind of “house cleaning”. It removes toxic compounds from dead cells during the day. We need sleep, according to the researchers, so that the brain can free itself from cell debris. If these breakdown products accumulate due to lack of sleep, this could lead to damage in the brain.
We see, sleep fulfills important tasks in the brain. Whether sleep also has other functions for the brain or for other parts of the body is still unknown, but very likely. Here, research will certainly bring a lot to light. It is already clear: sleep is very important, but how much sleep do we need? Is the motto: the more sleep, the better or is there an optimal sleep duration?
How the sleeping position influences our brain performance
Healthy sleep is just as important to our brains as proper nutrition or regular brain jogging.
During sleep, the brain disposes of toxins that could otherwise cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Further on, recent studies by researchers at Stony Brook University have found out which sleeping position is best for the detoxification and disposal of cellular waste. Stomach, back or side position?
While You’re Sleeping: The purification process in the brain sleep is not only responsible for the regeneration of our body, interesting processes also take place in our brains. On the one hand, information is processed while sleeping and, on the other hand, the brain performs a cleansing during the nocturnal break. As has been researched, the brain’s cell spaces in sleep expand so that toxic substances can be spilled out of the brain. Our brain cells are thus also very active in sleep – they filter, clean up and dispose of what is harmful to us and can cause disease.
Which sleeping position is the best for the brain?
But which sleep position is best for disposing of our brain waste? On the stomach, on the back or on the side? In fact, the lateral position of all sleep positions is the most ideal position for brain cleansing, as demonstrated recently by researchers using contrast and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Therapy). So, do something good for your brain and take a side position while you sleep, although it has not yet been possible to determine why the brain can more easily turn back in this position.
Sleep and your memory
In 2009, Prof Born from Tübingen in Germany, could prove that we learn in the deep sleep phase. Brainwaves take on a filtering function and decide which information is transferred from the short-term memory to the long-term memory. These processes are possible only in the deep sleep phase.
This is why a healthy and, above all, sufficiently long sleep not only helps you wake up more relaxed in the morning, but also that your memory is strengthened and your long-term memory is fed.
Only those who have a high proportion of deep sleep phases can remember vocabulary, data and facts the next day or get more out of their training.
What happens during a sleep?
The regeneration process
When you get tired, your concentration and reaction speed will decrease. These are the signals your body gives you when it needs a break. This is usually the case in the evenings when the sun goes down and your brain starts producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
During sleep, your body uses smart mechanisms, for example, to renew your skin and hair and to repair tissue structures (muscle building).
In your head, the cleanup work is in full swing. This process is taken over by the glyphatic system and he is often called the garbage disposal of the brain.
The glymphatic system
To wake up with a clear head every morning and start the day full of energy, you have to clean up your thinking apparatus at night.
At night, this cleaning system in your brain makes for order and throws everything simply out, what is no longer needed there. For your health and mental performance, restful and ample sleep is essential. As you dance in the Land of Dreams, your mind will regenerate so you can wake up the next morning feeling full of energy.
The researcher and discoverer of the glyphatic system, Dr. med. Maiken Nedergaard believes that regenerative sleep depends on the brain being cleansed of all the unnecessary by-products that accumulate in the wake of brain activity at night. As you sleep, your brain is busy wiping the floor, rinsing dishes, and taking out the garbage to prepare yourself for the next day. Insights into how the glyphatic system works have revolutionized the understanding of the purpose of sleep.
How does the glymphatic system work?
Because Dr. Maiken Nedergaard did not come to grips with the existence and importance of the glyphatic system until 2012/2013, but so far little has been reported in the mainstream media. It is clear that health and healing processes are dependent on brain garbage collection1! The clear cerebrospinal fluid, called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), is responsible for the outflow of toxins from the brain. The process is very similar to that of the lymphatic system. What is lymph in other organs is CSF in the brain. Your brain cells, like all cells of the body, need food and oxygen for their metabolism, and like all other cells in the body, the brain’s cellular metabolism also causes waste. During the day, this waste accumulates in the fluid of your brain. Some of the waste dissolves in the liquid, but most of it is simply collected, waiting for you to fall asleep and then being disposed of by the glyphatic system.2
The brain cells play a very special role in this cleaning process, because they actually shrink during sleep. As they shrink, the space between the cells increases by 60%, supporting the cleaning process – more space to flush out the garbage! CSF can flow much faster through the interstices and is still supported by the impulse of the arteries. The waste is flushed to the veins and then transported to the liver. This happens during slow-wave sleep, the period in which you sleep the deepest. While you are in the most beautiful dreams and sleeping peacefully, your body purifies itself of the cellular waste.
Take-Home-Message # 1: The glyphatic system is the garbage collection of your brain. It’s waiting for you to fall asleep, then dispose of all the toxins and wastes left in your brain during the day. Especially important is the cerebrospinal fluid CSF! The waste accumulates in it during the day and is flushed out of your brain at night. Because your brain cells shrink while you sleep, the CSF can flush all the dirt out of your brain, creating new space and a healthy foundation for the next day.
Why is the cleaning of the brain so important?
Your body needs to be rid of toxins on a regular basis. In addition to the brain, this cleansing process is also assisted by the skin, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, gallbladder and lymphatic system. As with a water filter, but also your body systems can slow down and weaken by lack of “maintenance”. If your cleaning systems are no longer functioning properly, everyday activities such as Sports cause problems. Usually this works like this during sports:
You start full of energy and are ready for anything! But after some time, your breathing becomes more irregular, your muscles get tired and your stamina decreases. Your body is no longer able to transport oxygen to your muscles fast enough. The muscles get their energy instead anaerobically, without oxygen. You can continue your exercise program this way, but your muscle cells will be enriched with toxic byproducts. These by-products are flushed out by the body’s own detoxification organs so that they function normally again without any permanent damage – this is called the recovery phase.
However, if your cleaning processes are disturbed and organs may be “clogged”, the toxic substances can not be removed and deposited in your organs, which can lead to serious long-term damage. That’s why the cleansing organs of your body are so important – they take care of him! If waste arises, swept clean!
Take Home Message # 2: Not only your brain, but your whole body needs to be regularly cleansed of toxins and by-products of cell activity. If toxic by-products accumulate in your muscles or brain because your body’s cleansing processes are not functioning properly, it can cause long-term damage. In sports, e.g. The result is an awful lot of waste, which is transported away by your body’s own detoxification organs. So that you can continue to pursue your favorite activities and are optimally cared for, it is therefore important to always pay attention to your cleaning organs.
The consequences of not sleeping on the glymphatic system
For your mental performance and mental fitness, the glyphatic system is your body’s primary cleansing and detoxification process. The problem is, if you do not give your brain enough cleaning time, the processes will not work as they should – that is, if you do not sleep enough, your brain garbage collection may not work properly. Around 80 percent of working adults suffer from sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should sleep for seven to nine hours.
On average, we sleep much less. When your sleep is disturbed, whatever the cause, your cleaning system collapses. If the cleaning system breaks down, whether in the skin, liver, gallbladder or even the glyphatic system in the brain – you get problems! Therefore, balanced and regular sleep is essential for your brain. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, rituals could help you before bed. Even a hot bath or quiet background music can make it easier for you to fall asleep.
A better sleep could help a sleep tracker. A true superhero for sleep problems is the body’s own sleep hormone melatonin. It’s responsible for your natural day-night rhythm. Supplementing with melatonin can both improve your sleep quality and shorten your sleep time. It will give your brain the time it needs for its purification processes.
Take-home message # 3: At night comes the brain cleaning! While you sleep, the glyph system works at full speed. But if your body gets too little sleep and thus your brain too little cleaning time, your cleaning system collapses. Sleep is therefore essential for a clean and energetic brain. Better sleep can help in the evening rituals and a better sleep through a sleep tracker. Supplementing with melatonin can also work wonders for your quality and duration of sleep.
5 tips on how you can support your glymphatic system
The glyphatic system depends on the mitochondria. Therefore, you should always pay attention to optimize these cell structures. Cell survival requires energy to perform various functions. The mitochondria are the primary source of cellular energy, and they ultimately receive that energy from the fuel you provide to your body. This means that if you want to improve your brain’s cleansing ability, you should improve the supply of nutrients to the mitochondria, and this is best done with more cellular detoxification. Here are 5 tips for you on how best to support your glyphatic system.
- Drinking water
Most importantly, you drink plenty of water every day. The toxins in your body are the more damaging the higher their tissue concentration is. If you drink 2-3 liters of water a day, you can dilute and dissolve the toxins. In addition, you can promote the excretion of the kidneys by an increased hydration.
Exercise in the fresh air and exercise help to breathe gaseous toxins.
- High-fiber diet
An altered diet can also help you get rid of toxins. If you eat a lot of fiber, toxins that are in the intestine can be bound and excreted.
- Paleo diet
A Paleo diet can also help with detoxification. Everything that is processed and could contain harmful substances is taboo. So, in principle, less harmful substances are already supplied to the body. It is important that you regularly rid your body of the remaining toxins so that your mitochondria can work optimally and provide your cells with energy. So you can skilfully master any everyday situation and give your thinking apparatus a decent boost.
- Posture and alignment of your spine
Your brain controls every single physiological function of your body. The alignment and movement of the spine is particularly important to stimulate and energize your brain. A straight posture and enough exercise are essential for detoxifying your brain. The effectiveness of the glyphatic system, as you already know, depends on the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid, so CFS can flow much better in a good and healthy posture, as if the spine is curved. A healthy and properly aligned spine can save a lot of brain-garbage collection work and help the glyphatic system to optimally strengthen your mental performance in order to get the most out of your energy.
Take-home message # 4: You can support your glyphatic system in many ways. For example, it depends on cells that are optimally supplied with energy. Exercise in the fresh air, a high-fiber diet and drinking enough water can help. But because the glyphatic system also relies on your CSF flowing through and cleansing the interstitial spaces, the alignment of the spine is also of particular importance. Only if it has a healthy shape and you have a straight posture, the CSF can remove all the toxic and waste materials.