Lack of sleep keeps your brain from making new memories

It’s one of the cruellest tricks that life can play on you.

You fall into bed, exhausted from a long day – but when your head hits the pillow, your eyes pop wide open and your mind starts racing.

You know you need to sleep… you WANT to sleep… but the very fact that you’re NOT sleeping is keeping you up at night!

Losing sleep can be disastrous for your health. Earlier this year, I shared a study that showed how lack of sleep can set you up for Alzheimer’s.

Now we’re learning more about the connection between getting enough shut-eye and creating memories.

In fact, according to research just published in Nature Communications, sleep problems can actually prevent you from being able to make new memories.

German researchers performed brain scans on 20 healthy, non-smoking adults between the ages of 19 and 25 years old, and put them through a sleep-deprivation exercise.

Now the science here gets a little complicated. But, basically, researchers found that when you don’t get enough sleep, your brain loses something called “plasticity.”

And you actually need this plasticity to make new memories and process new information.

If you think of the brain like a balloon, at the end of the day it’s chock full of information (air) and stretched to the brim. Sleeping actually alleviates that pressure, refreshes your brain, and allows some room to re-fill the next day.

But sleep too little and that balloon is ready to burst.

One of the best ways to get a good night’s sleep is to set a regular bedtime routine. You did the same for your children when they were growing up – because it works!

A warm bath before bed can also be incredibly relaxing – especially if you add some Epsom salts to calm your muscles. Try also using lavender oil for aromatherapy, since it has some calming effects.

If you still have trouble, try having a nice warm cup of chamomile tea.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

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So THAT’S why we sleep: Scientists reveal how hours of shut-eye ‘resets’ the brain to make room for new memories,

What a Night of Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain,

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