Sleep and Brain Health – The Importance Of Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, over 48% of older adults suffer from some form of insomnia at least once a week. The National Institute on Aging has found that insomnia is one of the most common problems facing older adults.
A new study found that a good night’s sleep is essential to our overall health. The optimal duration of sleep is seven to eight hours, with a minimum of six hours of sleep. However, some people may need more or less sleep. Whether or not your body needs more sleep is a personal choice, but a recent study suggested that adults should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But how much sleep is enough? While there is no single answer for the optimal amount of sleep, there is evidence that the amount of sleep we get will depend on our age, environment, and underlying health.
The Benefits Of Brain Health
While most people know that physical exercise improves brain health, the mental kind is just as important. Various mental exercises are known to improve brain function, promote new brain cell growth, and reduce the risk of dementia. The brain is like a muscle. It must be used to maintain it. Mental exercises include puzzles, Sudoku, reading, playing cards, and jigsaw puzzles. These activities help your brain develop new neural connections, and they also help to prevent memory loss.
A healthy brain is a sign of overall good health and well-being. There are many benefits of healthy brain function, including a longer lifespan and a happier life. Moreover, maintaining a healthy brain can improve cognitive skills, as well as improve self-awareness and emotional regulation. Hence, brain health is one of the best investments you can make. But what are the benefits of maintaining brain health? Read on to learn about them.
How Sleep Impacts Your Brain
Research shows that sleep is essential to several functions of the human brain, including communication between nerve cells and clearing toxins from the brain. Sleep also affects nearly every type of tissue in the body, including mood and disease resistance. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep may lead to several health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and obesity. The brain needs sleep to repair itself after a long day, but a lack of sleep may lead to a range of other issues.
Your brain cycles between the REM and non-REM stages of sleep. REM sleep is 90 minutes long and involves rapid eye movement, mixed frequency brain wave activity, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. It is during this stage of sleep that you dream the most vividly. When you are asleep, you are in this phase of the brainwave pattern, and you’re more alert than you normally are. While you’re asleep, non-REM sleep consolidates your memories. Non-REM sleep is a necessary part of the consolidation process.
Researchers believe that REM sleep is important for daytime function. It helps us learn new skills and consolidate memories. Research has shown that it may also be essential for procedural memory, which is different from factual and semantic memory. Research also suggests that it is associated with vivid dreams and nightmares. This may be because it has more intense stimulation during REM sleep than in non-REM sleep. And as you may have guessed, the benefits of REM sleep are many.
While REM sleep is associated with dreaming, non-REM sleep has its benefits, including memory consolidation. REM sleep is essential for learning, but the non-REM phase is more restful for the brain. Earlier, it was believed that the REM stage was more crucial for learning. Research has shown that non-REM sleep improves memory, but not for the same reasons. However, it’s still necessary to get a sufficient amount of sleep. There are many more fun facts about sleep. Keep reading this article to know and understand more.
Effects of chronic insomnia on cognition
A recent study investigated the effects of chronic insomnia on cognitive functioning. It involved a large sample of participants aged 45 and over who self-reported having trouble falling asleep, experiencing frequent awakenings during the night, and feeling rested upon awakening. Researchers also conducted physical examinations and neuropsychological tests to measure the participants’ cognitive functions. The authors concluded that the results suggest that insomnia is associated with lowered executive function. Regardless of the underlying mechanism, chronic insomnia negatively impacts cognitive functioning.
The results of the study indicated that people with chronic insomnia are more likely to report problems with memory, attention, and daytime functioning. The participants reported a greater degree of inconsistency with their daytime function than their non-insomniac controls. In addition, the study showed differences in sleep architecture, suggesting that the cognitive performance of chronic insomnia sufferers and non-sleepers varies across sleep duration and quality.
Effects of caffeine counteracting the effects of sleep deprivation
A recent study has suggested that caffeine may reduce the adverse effects of sleep deprivation. Participants were asked to complete a simple attention task as well as a challenging “peacekeeping” task. In both tasks, participants were required to complete all tasks in a specified order, without skipping. Insufficient sleep affects mood and cognition, and it may also impair immunity. However, caffeine may help prevent procedural errors. Such results have implications for those in high-risk professions, such as doctors and surgeons.
Although studies in humans have shown that caffeine helps improve performance in shift workers and people with jet lag, there is no conclusive evidence to back up the conclusions of previous studies. Moreover, many studies do not include elderly participants, limiting conclusions. However, in one study, caffeine reduced subjective sleepiness in night workers. In another, caffeine reduces subjective sleepiness, thereby boosting the brain’s performance.
Individual differences in brain resilience may help delay the onset of dementia symptoms. Furthermore, these differences could reduce or eliminate the behavioural impact of such pathologies. Researchers should therefore focus their efforts on identifying factors that promote brain resilience. For example, delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by a year could prevent the disability of over 11.8 million people in the next 30 years. This would save an estimated 219 billion dollars! It’s worth noting that these brain-health resources are often offered by community-based organisations.