It’s ironic that parents often put their kids to sleep early and have them follow a structured bedtime schedule, yet the parents are the ones who are always tired running around with bags under their eyes! Granted, it is nearly impossible to come by sleep with a newborn in the house, but bedtime should be for everyone, not just the toddlers. Did you know the brain uses up a quarter of the body’s energy supply, although it only accounts for 2% of body mass? That’s a lot of energy for the human engine.
Logic (and science classes) say that things that use energy produce waste. The rest of the body uses the lymphatic system, a vast network that allows the body to dump its waste by sweating. But the brain doesn’t have any lymph nodes. In order to clear the waste, the brain flushes the waste with Cerebral Spinal Fluid, or CSF: this is how the brain “sweats.”
But there’s a catch: this process only happens in a sleeping brain. When we fall asleep and drift away with our dreams, we enter cleaning mode because the brain is much too busy to simultaneously work and clean when it is awake. Furthermore, this waste, called amyloid-beta, will build up in the brain if not flushed out by the CSF, and can contribute to the development of conditions like Alzheimers. So sleep is extremely important. Watch this video or try some of the following tips to develop a regular schedule to ensure you get enough sleep. Your brain will thank you for it!