Ever thought about your brain during sleep? We can tell you one thing—it’s definitely not sleeping! While your body may call it quits after a long, busy day, your brain is doing some serious work.
According to Fast Company, the average person spends about one-third of their lives sleeping. That means if you live to be 90, you’ll spend 32 years catching z’s! So how cool is it to know that during all that slumber your brain remains highly active performing a host of functions to keep you humming all day long.
In fact, a lot of things are happening in our brain while we sleep away. The brain is pretty incredible. Let’s take a moment for the human brain. Thank you – now back to the facts!
Let’s look at 4 things happening in the brain during sleep.
4 Incredible Things Happening to Your Brain During Sleep
It Takes Out the Trash
Sleep gives the brain a chance to do some housekeeping—like take out the trash. When we sleep, we allow time to clear away any toxic byproducts that would otherwise start to accumulate and cause problems, like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. Cerebral fluid is pumped more quickly throughout the brain while you snooze away, and clears out any toxins. When you wake up, you’re literally starting the day with a clean slate.
Check out these 5 gadgets that will help you sleep better so you can stop counting sheep each night.
It Creates & Consolidates Memories
Keep losing your car keys? It may be because you’re not getting enough sleep. In order for our brain to form new memories, consolidating older ones and linking more recent with earlier memories, we need to be well rested. Not enough sleep can significantly affect the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with memory creation and consolidation.
It Makes Decisions
The brain processes all of the information it received during the day and while you sleep works through any problems to find answers and solutions. A study published in the journal Current Biology found that the brain processes outside stimuli during sleep and uses that information to make decisions when we’re awake.
It Improves Motor Skills
There are short bursts of brain waves at strong frequencies that occur during REM sleep known as sleep spindles. These help your brain store information into your long-term memory—which means that essentially your muscle memory improves while you sleep. Sleep spindles are particularly helpful for storing information related to motor tasks like learning some new dance moves, stepping up your golf game or driving. If you want to master your tennis swing, sleep more!
Getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night is so important to your physical and mental health. Here are 7 benefits from Health Ambition.
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References: https://weather.com/health/news/amazing-things-your-brain-does-while-you-sleep-20141002#/2, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/brain-sleep-_n_5863736.html, https://sleep.org/articles/brain-during-sleep/, http://agingfree.org/en-us/news/ArticleID/443/5-Amazing-Things-Your-Brain-Does-While-You-Sleep, http://www.prevention.com/health/what-happens-during-sleep, http://theconversation.com/what-is-going-on-in-your-brain-when-you-sleep-39723, http://advancedlifeskills.com/blog/what-is-your-brain-doing-while-you-are-sleeping/