Why is Sleep Restorative?

Why is Sleep Restorative?

The reason why people sleep is sort of a mystery. Other than restoring the brain, there are different theories as to why we sleep as much as we do. Some recent research looks at one of the top theories of why people sleep: to give the brain a rest. The brain has a lot going on and it needs time to clean itself. When you are not awake, things are not firing and connecting so the brain can slow down and get ready for the next day. Learn more about the restorative power of sleep for the brain and how to tap its potential for your recovery.

Fluid Flow

Transporting waste materials in the brain requires a great deal of energy. Researchers are looking at how the brain supports cleaning functions and processes sensory information at the same time. Through this process of research awake and sleep modes for the brain, it was observed that very little movement goes on in the brain during sleep, which gives it space to rest and restore.

Space Between Brain Cells

Researchers observed interstitial spaces between brain cells become larger during sleep, which allowed fluid to flow more freely. Channels in the brain actually increased during sleep. What this means for the brain is that it is working to clean itself, sort of like the hard drive on a computer that scans for viruses and excess ‘junk’ and ‘files’ that are no longer necessary. Fortunately, this does not mean our brain dumps memories and important functions when we sleep or we would wake up like Groundhog’s Day, having to relearn everything each day. When researchers look at the glymphatic system and waste clearing processes, it helps to understand how the brain is restoring itself to work more efficiently every day.

Sleep Matters

Sleep problems can cause issues with memory, thinking, mood (depression, anxiety) and chronic fatigue or pain. During sleep, the brain is able to repair and grow cells, tissues, and nerves that regenerate. Good nutrition and stress reduction are vital to optimal health. People can work to support better sleep with getting on a regular schedule, reducing or avoiding caffeine, eliminating tobacco, getting regular exercise and limiting TV or electronics before bed. A treating physician can work with you if you struggle to get good sleep. Medications may support better sleep for a time to promote better health. Neurofeedback is helpful and may effectively retrain the brain to have restorative sleep. Hypnosis is also effective along with some holistic treatments including chiropractic work, so long as a treating physician has said this is okay to pursue. The key is to work with a treatment team in recovery who can help identify what is going on with your sleep pattern and provide an individualized plan to support your journey back to health, and a peaceful night’s rest.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.