5 Things You Didn’t Know The Brain Does During Sleep
We all have one thing in common: we all have to sleep. In fact, we spend a third of our lives sleeping. During sleep, we may feel at rest, but in reality our brain is anything but inactive. Here are five incredible things that your brain does while you are in bed every night.
1. Forms and Consolidates Memories
The brain is busy forming new memories, consolidating memories, and linking the old with the new all while we are fast asleep. This is why professionals say sleep is so important in order to retain information. Without sleep, the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain that forms and stores memories, cannot properly do its job. Sleep is where the brain takes the time to process everything into memories, and even cements any new info into the brain for better recall later on.
2. Removes Toxins
Let’s just say that sleep gives your brain a chance to do a little housekeeping. During this time, the brain clears out any damaging molecules that are associated with neurodegeneration. If sleep does not occur, these toxins have the ability to build up and accelerate neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Sleep enables harmful toxins that are built up during active hours to be flushed so that the brain is able to refresh and restore.
3. Makes Decisions
The brain can actually make effective decisions while unconscious. A recent study found that the brain processes complex stimuli while asleep, which the brain then uses to make decisions when we are awake. An example that all of us can relate to is waking up due to an alarm clock. The brain processes this information as a relevant sound and then tells our body to act accordingly and wakeup. However, we don’t wake up as easily to sounds that aren’t familiar to our brain, even if they are just as loud, because the brain doesn’t associate that sound with a decision.
4. Burns Calories
Many people don’t realize that means you actually burn calories while you are asleep. Sleep is where your body is able to undergo the bulk of digestion for the day because your parasympathetic nervous system is dominant at rest. The exact amount of calories you burn in your sleep depends on a person’s weight and the number of hours spent sleeping. However, the average amount of calories burned is 0.42 calories for every pound per one hour of sleep.
5. Boosts Creativity
A deep sleep can actually be a creativity booster. At an unconscious state, your brain is able to make new connections that it wouldn’t normally make when awake. In fact, it has been proven that sleep can foster unusual connections in the brain, which can then lead to “aha” moments upon waking up. A recent study at The University of California at Berkeley found that after waking up, people are 33% more likely to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. Several creative directors attest to keeping a notepad next to their beds because they have their best ideas when they wake up from a deep slumber.
These five things can only happen in your unconscious state, so make sure to jump into bed tonight and get a good night’s rest. If you don’t feel yourself seeing these five benefits of sleep, it may be time for a new mattress to ensure you are getting the best sleep possible. Check out our mattress finder or stop in a store today to see what’s right for you.