Your Brain On Sleep

We often talk about the importance of sleep, (“we” being us nutty health people), but we don’t often get specific of why it is so important. Yes, it is crucial for recovery, mental clarity, etc., but what does that mean?

I recently watched a Ted Talk called Why Do We Sleep, given by Russel Foster in August of 2013. Russel Foster is a circadian neuroscientist, which means he studies the sleep cycles of the brain. My favorite bit was at the end of his talk when he outlined the effects of getting a proper amount of sleep. This is what I found out:

Sleep increases….

            Concentration

            Attention

            Decision Making

            Creativity

            Social Skills

            Health

Sleep decreases….

            Mood Changes

            Stress

            Anger

            Impulsivity

            Drinking & Smoking

This is a rather brief list of a very complex system, but notice that nearly all of these effects are in your brain. Essentially, our higher functions fall apart if we do not slumber enough.  Personally, I LOVE to sleep. Given the rare chance, I will easily sleep for ten, eleven, or even twelve hours. However, on a normal schedule I do not get nearly that much and if I get much less than seven or eight hours, I don’t feel so wonderful. Given how much sleep affects our brains, it’s no wonder!

So, nap time! 

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Jessie HernandezComment