Researchers have made new and important discoveries pertaining to Alzheimer’s and Dementia prevention. Numerous contributing factors have been identified, meaning that we actually have more control over the fate of our brains than previously believed. One important discovery involves the importance of quality sleep. Researchers have learned that during sleep, the flow of clear cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases significantly. This fluid washes away harmful waste proteins that build up between brain cells during waking hours. Researchers have discovered that wastes are forcefully pushed through the brain during sleep, and are eliminated. This waste elimination system is referred to as the “glympahatic system.”
This “glympahatic system” operates much like how the lymph system in other organs removes waste. But with the “glympahatic system”, the clear cerebrospinal fluid washes the brain, and removes a waste product named beta amyloid. This is the protein that forms the sticky plaques found in brains affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Because this “washing” system that occur every night, it is very important that we experience good quality sleep. Medications, LED lights, alcohol, stress, and other factors negatively affect our sleep. Exposure to even small amounts of light from a television, computer, tablet, or smartphone can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, which helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
Additionally, about 95 percent of Americans use an electronic device within one hour of going to sleep, which causes significant problems in sleep quality. Sleeping next to your smartphone, and being exposed to 3G and 4G signals all night, has been found to affect brain patterns. Researchers have found that this can restructure brain cells and may prevent the brain from cleaning out waste materials properly. Sleep apnea is another contributing factor to poor sleep, and leads to an ineffective brain-waste elimination system.
Everyone should take their sleep very seriously. Our brains and glympahatic system work hard during deep sleep, removing waste and beta amyloid proteins. Our modern lifestyle is detrimental to our sleep patterns, and our brains. Television, LED lights, computers, and cell phones, are simply destructive and detrimental. It’s time to turn off the electronic devices, and learn how to naturally enhance our sleep quality, so we give our brains every advantage possible.