The Neuroscience of Sleep

Sleep has an undeniable positive effect on human health, having a huge impact over our brains and bodies. Sleep loss can affect our heart performance, blood pressure, age your skin, make you gain weight and even increase your risk of death.

But in the same way that it can deteriorate your body, it can also affect your brain performance. Just think about how sleep deprivation is frequently involved with everyday accidents and injuries, including deadly road accidents or even plane crashes. Lack of sleep has also been responsible for big disasters throughout history, like Chernobyl or the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Researchers have found that during our sleep several important processes take place in our brains, like memory consolidation, cleaning brain metabolic waste concentration accumulated during the day and creation of new ideas that come from REM sleep, where memories, skills and experiences get connected offering new insights or alternatives that we wouldn’t have considered.

Here are a few interesting facts about sleep:

  • If you fall asleep within 5 minutes or less, you’re probably sleep-deprived. Ideally, falling asleep should take 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Women who tend to multitask, will sleep more than men, as their brains will work harder so their brains will take longer to recover.
  • Exercising regularly normally improves your sleep patterns but exercising right before bedtime could keep you awake.
  • Sleep deprivation can make you angry, sad, and stressed.