When a person is tired after a long day from doing either daily activities or having a long day at work, sleep is on their mind as their body starts to get into bed and their head is on their pillow. Sometimes a person can get an adequate amount of sleep and feel well-rested or sometimes they cannot get an adequate amount of sleep due to either pain that is radiating from their bodies or their minds are wired that they can’t relax and fall asleep. In this article, we will be discussing how sleep disorders can affect the brain as well as different techniques that can optimize sleep for brain health. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in neurological services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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Sleep Disorders That Can Affect The Brain
When the brain is overworked and has a problem of not falling asleep, it can cause a variety of issues to an individual and can develop into sleeping disorders over time. Studies have found that when an individual starts to develop sleep deprivation, its effects can cause changes to the brain. Depending on the situation where a person can’t fall asleep, the brain would be severely vulnerable through a variety of factors. Studies have found that sleep deprivation can cause several negative effects on cognitive performance. Without getting the proper amount of sleep, the brain can develop chronic conditions that will affect the brain’s health if it is not treated in time. These can include depression, insomnia, and inflammation.
So depression can lead to an increase in morbidity including cardiovascular disease and dementia while being associated with the increased rate of mortality. Research studies have shown that depression is characterized by the prolonged presence of specific somatic and cognitive abnormalities affecting a person’s general mood. Depression can come in many forms in many individuals as a person can experience a variety of emotions that will affect not only the brain but the entire body. Other studies have found that major depressive disorder (MDD) is often accompanied by cognitive dysfunction, physical symptoms, and impaired social function due to persistent low moods from the brain.
Insomnia is co-morbid with depression as it is among the most frequent sleep disturbance in depressed patients. Research shows that insomnia is where there is a chronic dissatisfaction with the sleep quantity or quality that makes a person unable to fall back asleep or wakes them up earlier in the morning when it is still dark outside. Sleep disturbance often lingers and its persistence can represent
a residual phase of major mood disorder as studies show that insomnia can increase the levels of fatigue, anxiety, or mood disturbances in the body. When a person has insomnia, their brain function is slower than normal and if the effects of insomnia are not dampened can develop a higher risk of dementia later in their life.
Research has found that even though inflammation is considered a protective response to the body’s healing process when there is prolonged inflammation can cause tissue damage to the brain and cause cognitive impairment. Sadly though, inflammation is considered a risk factor for depression and if individuals have an inflammatory disorder will show an over 3?fold greater prevalence of insomnia and a 2?4 fold greater prevalence of depression. Other studies have shown that when inflammatory markers are being circulated throughout the body and entering the brain, it can cause a decline in cognitive function and worsen the brain’s structural and metabolic characteristics.
HCTP (human cellular tissue products) or stem cells* are a form of regenerative medicine that helps boost the body’s own natural healing process by repairing and regenerating damaged cells, tissues, and organs back to their original state. As a part of regenerative treatments in both international and nationally affiliated clinics and distribution organizations, HCTP therapy has beneficial properties that can help individuals that are dealing with chronic pain. With more upcoming research on HCTP and its beneficial properties, individuals can be pain-free and live life to the fullest.
Ways To Optimize Sleep For Brain Health
Surprisingly there are many ways to optimize a better quality of sleep. Some individuals do a nighttime routine to get the full 8 to 10 hours of sleep while others take melatonin to stay asleep and feel recharged. Some of the techniques that a person can do before they can go to bed and get the proper amount of sleep are:
- Have the phone turned off 30 minutes before bed
- Limit the intake of caffeine
- Have the room be cool and dark
While these are ways to provide a better quality of sleep, it is important to make sure that the brain is also being taken care of. One of the ways to help the brain stay healthy and optimize sleep is incorporating Tai Chi and meditation practices in a daily lifestyle.
One of the greatest ways to ease a troubled mind is through the practice of meditation. Studies have found that the practice of meditation can reduce age-related brain degeneration while also improving cognitive function. By meditating in a quiet dark place, can help calm down intrusive thoughts and limit the outdoor noise that can break the concentration of a person. Research studies have found that mindful meditation practices can reduce the symptoms of cognitive disorders like anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Meditation practices can also ease troubled minds that a person is having by being in the moment and feeling their emotions being sorted out as they are being mindful of their surroundings.
Another way to optimize a better way to get enough sleep to improve brain health is by Tai Chi. Research studies have found that Tai Chi is a cognitive-motor exercise that consists of slow fluid movements while performing coordinated deep breathing, relaxation, and mental focus on the brain. With these slow movements from Tai Chi can show improved brain function in older adults as other studies have found that the health benefits from Tai Chi not only increase muscle strength and flexibility but also provide a positive effect on a person’s mood. Utilizing Tai Chi in a daily routine can also provide the individual to even sleep better knowing that their minds are at ease.
All in all, finding therapeutic ways to ease the mind and improve brain health are beneficial for adequate amounts of restful sleep. Through practices of meditation or through Tai Chi can help improve cognitive function and dampen the effects of neurodegenerative disorders from rising and harming the central nervous system. When chronic disorders like depression, insomnia, and inflammations start to not only attack the body but also the brain, they can develop into chronic issues over time if it is not treated right away. With these therapeutic techniques, not only does the body begins to feel better but so does the brain and the individual will begin to have a better chance of sleeping peacefully.
Alhola, Paula, and Päivi Polo-Kantola. “Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Dove Medical Press, 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/.
Hölzel, Britta K, et al. “Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density.” Psychiatry Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Jan. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004979/.
Kaltenboeck, Alexander, and Catherine Harmer. “The Neuroscience of Depressive Disorders: A Brief Review of the Past and Some Considerations about the Future.” Brain and Neuroscience Advances, SAGE Publications, 8 Oct. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058215/.
Krause, Adam J, et al. “The Sleep-Deprived Human Brain.” Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143346/.
Lardone, Anna, et al. “Mindfulness Meditation Is Related to Long-Lasting Changes in Hippocampal Functional Topology during Resting State: A Magnetoencephalography Study.” Neural Plasticity, Hindawi, 18 Dec. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6312586/.
Rosano, Caterina, et al. “Maintaining Brain Health by Monitoring Inflammatory Processes: A Mechanism to Promote Successful Aging.” Aging and Disease, JKL International LLC, Feb. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320802/.
Sartori, Andrea C, et al. “The Impact of Inflammation on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: Implications for Healthcare Practice and Research.” The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: Journal of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390758/.
Wei, Gao-Xia, et al. “Can Taichi Reshape the Brain? A Brain Morphometry Study.” PloS One, Public Library of Science, 9 Apr. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3621760/.
Yue, Chunlin, et al. “Tai Chi Training Evokes Significant Changes in Brain White Matter Network in Older Women.” Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), MDPI, 9 Mar. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7151065/.
Zhang, Fei-Fei, et al. “Brain Structure Alterations in Depression: Psychoradiological Evidence.” CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, John Wiley and Sons Inc., Nov. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489983/.
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