Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Deep Sleep for Brain Detox-
Activity or lethargy! Ahh! If lethargy is triumphant in your case, celebrate! It is even better if you doze off to sleep, so deep that it detoxifies your brain.
Scientifically, sleep is a detoxification tool for a machine called the brain. Therapeutically, sleep can act as a natural cleanser for your brain which has to process infinite information. Mathematically, human senses send 11 million bits per second from the environment to the brain for processing. However, when conscious, the brain exhibits the potential to process only 50 bits per second. You need an efficient brain. Isn’t it?
The Super-Agile Brain-
Your brain’s work doesn’t end while you are awake and conscious. It continues even while you are sleeping and unconscious. No, not dreams! It is the biological maintenance work that can turn your dreams into reality if you sleep deeply!
What Researchers Say-
Studies dedicated to the link between brain detoxification and neuro-cognitive diseases have discovered the importance of brain detoxification during deep sleep for reducing the risk for Alzheimer's Disease.
A study conducted by Matthew Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, found that participants who did not achieve significant levels of deep sleep had more beta-amyloid toxins in the brain in a period of six years. Beta-amyloid is a protein that has been found abnormally piled up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.
A research study led by Laura Lewis, an assistant professor of biomedical research at Boston University, found that during deep sleep cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows into fluid-filled cavities in the central brain, thereby removing toxic wastes. CSF is a colourless lubricating fluid within the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord of all vertebrates.
Stages of Sleep and Brain Detoxification-
Sleep is divided into two types and five stages: the non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep (comprising the first four stages of sleep) and REM sleep (comprising the fifth stage).
During stage I, a transition occurs from wakefulness to sleep, when the brain waves (both alpha and theta waves) begin to slow. During stage II, a state of deep relaxation is achieved, when the dominant theta waves are slow, interrupted by brief bursts of higher frequency brain activity called sleep spindles. Stages III and IV are associated with deep sleep or slow-wave sleep with low frequency and high amplitude delta waves. It is during deep sleep that the brain’s glymphatic system detoxifies the brain.
The Glymphatic System as the Waste Cleaner-
The glymphatic system is a macroscopic waste clearance system that functions to remove metabolic byproducts (toxic wastes: beta-amyloid and tau) from the Central Nervous System (CNS) that have been found abnormally piled up in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
The automatic cleaning process happening as often as every 20 seconds during deep sleep is the result of the synchronization among brainwaves, blood flow in the brain, and cerebrospinal fluid. The slow brain waves are followed by blood flow out of the head and a wave of cerebrospinal fluid into the head and out in a rhythmic way, “washing off” the toxins. Thus, the above-mentioned mechanism directly relates to the potential ill effects of the absence of deep sleep, increasing the risks of chronic conditions (like Dementia, Heart Disease, and Depression) in the absence of brain detox.
Stuti Jain, Psychologist, ManoShala