I have a friend who wishes that he could take toothpicks and prop his eyes open so as not to miss anything of his life. His view is that time, precious time, is wasted when we have to sleep.
There is a power in this view for it is a relishing of life that is admirable and inspiring. While he is serious in one vein, he also understands the necessity of this nighttime activity.
Sleep remains one of the integral activities to maintain good health. Why? Well, for one, toxins are cleared from the brain and cells throughout the body while we sleep.
In other articles I highlighted the latest research on the glymphatic system which is THE way the brain is washed and refreshed. This recent pioneering discovery is influencing the way we see the health of the brain and even its connection to other parts of the body, like the gut.
The cerebral spinal fluid moves through the brain like a steady wash by way of this system (of which it is a part,) to repair neural pathways, restore balance and relieve cells of toxins. AND 60% OF THIS WORK HAPPENS DURING SLEEP.
So the effectiveness is in direction proportion to the quality of sleep we have each night.
Because of the stress levels of the world, and the ways we have adopted practices that are unbalanced, like working long hours in front of computer screens, drinking higher quantities of alcohol, sacrificing down time for more productivity, about 50-70 million Americans have sleep disorders. This includes the most known one of insomnia.
About 50-70 million Americans have some sleep disorder including insomnia. In a joint study of the American and Canadian medical associations the estimates are striking. Over 50% of people over 65 years of age have some form of sleep disorder including, fragmented sleep, insomnia, reduced REM sleep, early to bed-early to rise change in circadian rhythms, delayed onset of sleep and reduced slow wave (deep and restorative) sleep.
The study concluded a number of detrimental effects of these sleep disorders which will not surprise you. A few health challenges noted were decreased mental function, higher irritability, loss of memory, long term Alzheimer’s and dementia, earlier onset of death and of course, decreased quality of life.
One way these sleep disorders can be helped and even healed is through a technique called craniosacral therapy. This is my passion so I am intimate with its astounding effects on all who try it.
Some of the notable benefits are lower sympatric tone-less stress, more restorative and restful parasympathetic tone, relaxation of the connective tissues in the body and the brain, Decrease of hypertension and high blood pressure, AND a significant influence on a person’s ability to sleep AND to stay there in stage 3 and 4 which is where rest and repair take place.
It is these stages of sleep where the glymphatic system can easily and effectively do its work.
Add in a change to good nutrition and consistent exercise and you have created a life-giving environment for your body and brain to flourish!