In the US alone, there are around 50 to 70 million individuals suffering from sleep disorders. 37.9% have unintentionally fallen asleep at least once in a month. It has also been reported that there are 4.7% cases of people who even slept while driving.
Insomnia in the US is the most common type of sleeping disorder. This is a serious problem since sleep is a basic physiologic requirement of the body. Sleep is a necessity in order to help the body repair cells. In fact, sleep can also help improve cognition.
How exactly does sleep help individuals improve their overall brain functions including their cognitive functions?
Easier to process information
It is suggested by experts that you can make better decisions when you have slept well. In fact, you can never expect yourself to make the right decision when your mind is stressed and tired.
The brain can process information easier when you have slept well. Keep in mind that stimuli that your brain picks up ranges from auditory to visual to neurosensory. Once the brain is tired, it just can’t process everything all at once. Sleep is responsible for making an archive of these experiences.
Improvement of memory
What we don’t notice is that the mind is still busy even if you are sleeping. According to studies, sleeping improves consolidation of memories. This means that if you are going to learn something new, you can strengthen it by practice. According to studies, you will be able to further improve your learning and once you sleep.
One chemical that is produced during sleep is acetylcholine. This is involved during sleep and when you are dreaming. This is a chemical believed by experts that is responsible for creating memory.
One condition that affects a person’s memory is Alzheimer’s disease. According to some studies, it is possible to reduce the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease just by sleeping. And also, it is worth mentioning that acetylcholine is destroyed when a person starts developing Alzheimer’s disease.
But of course, there is always that possibility of preventing Alzheimer’s disease merely by sleeping. Once you sleep, the lymphatic system gets rid of the brain’s toxins. One protein that has been recycled during sleep is responsible for developing amyloid plaque which is a hallmark in brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
It has been established that sleeping can also help boost attention. It can even help keep you safe. In fact, it has been established that missing a couple of hours of sleep can already double your risk of car crash. In a research made by AAA foundation, missing one or two hours of sleep from the recommended 7 hours of sleep can already double the risk being involved in a car accident.
That is something that you should consider closely. Driving while sleep deprived even for just a couple of hours is just as dangerous as drunk driving. This is a study done on 7,234 drivers who were involved in 4,571 car accidents.
According to studies, chronic sleep deprivation can damage the neurons that are important for alertness and cognition. In fact, the damage can be permanent. It is also discovered that short sleep can result in brain shrinkage. It is believed that there are chemicals that are secreted in the brain during deep sleep that can help in the repair of the brain and even the rest of the body.
Another improvement that you will notice when you have enough sleep is your creativity. Sleep can help facilitate behavior and flexible reasoning. In a study, conducted on individuals woken from REM sleep, respondents had a 32% advantage on an anagram task. It also shows that there is a difference in the problem-solving mechanism when an individual just woke up from REM sleep. There is also a separate study wherein participants who went 32 hours without any sleep had a problem solving figural and verbal tests.
Getting enough sleep is a must. Not only it is a good idea to relax, it has also been proven that sleep can help individuals become healthier. Unfortunately, there are many reasons for a person to not have enough sleep. From the distractions that they usually get from gadgets that they bring to their bed to the stress that they are exposed to, these are just some common reasons why someone lacks sleep.
By making sure that you prioritize sleep, you will be surprised how you well can function the next day. You will also be surprised how more productive you could potentially become.