Why the brain makes room during sleep
These groundbreaking scientific results are an important indication on why the synaptic strength increases when we are awake. On the other hand, it decreases resp. normalizes during sleep. Only this makes it possible that learning experiences of the day are solidified during sleep; and that the memories are stored in the brain. To say it in other words: always, when we are sleeping, we forget a part of what we have learned during the day. The synaptic connections that don’t get broken are transferred into long-term-memory.
Building on the findings of 2003, a current study of the scientist Graham Diering of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, revealed further interesting details that were published in February, 2017. The group of scientists also examined synapses of mice before and after sleeping but put their main focus on molecular and structural changes of nerve connections. Here, the scientists found that the synapses not only lost size during sleep. Also, the number of receptor proteins were diminished by about 20 %.
These proteins are important for signal transmission via transmitters. In relation to sleep, this degradation of “docking stations” takes place when the level of the transmitter noradrenalin or adenosine signalize an increased sleep need. This also points to the fact that during sleep a “re-calibration” of the brain takes place, room is made, so to say. Due to this nightly “shrinking-process”, the brain is enabled a further important function – to detox during sleep.
This is proven by studies of the University of Rochester, USA. Via brain and spinal liquids, the toxins get “removed”. Explorations of these liquids reveal that during sleep a particularly large number of residues of tau-proteins and amyloids are found, even if the precise mechanism still is not researched exactly. Exactly these two substances are connected with the development of Alzheimer’s.
Sleep is a must for mental well-being
The current findings concerning our “nightly brain” impressively confirm the importance of healthy and sufficient sleep for our mental well-being. Just to remind: 100 % of our mental regeneration depend on sleep! At the same time, the finding that sleeping is no break for our brain is strengthened. Because, our brain has to carry out important working processes during sleep which enable us to be clear in our mind, to make good decisions, to feel well and to stay mentally healthy. As soon as we sleep poorly or too less, we are harming our health and our mental fitness to a vast extent.
Especially the brain of people with a high mental performance and of people who have a great deal to learn, quickly is crowded with numerous instable connections. To remain to be productive we have to give the structures (glia cells) the possibility to cut off instable connections in time. Only then, they can be replaced with stable synapses.
So, these special micro-glia-cells “cut off” all old and unneeded synapses and make room for new and strong connections. And care for a free head to meet the expectations of a new day. The essential prerequisite is: you have to have sufficient and biological high-quality sleep! From the biologic point of view, this is the best possibility to keep your brain fit during sleep without much effort. But, in case you have insufficient and unhealthy sleep you deprive your brain of the possibility to do this important “neuronal disposal” during sleep. Only this kind of “reset” makes room for new learning experiences that are necessary and important for a progress in life and to be successful – in all areas of life: personally, in the job and sports. Because, mental fitness is irreplaceable.
Helpful tips on how to effectively avoid indoor toxins and sleeping pills in #4.
This post is also available in / Diesen Beitrag gibt es auch in: German