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Brain Power
Wellness

Brain Power: The Benefits of Oxygen and Sleep

Sleep is our foundation. During the day neurons and dendrites are constantly firing in your head and creating toxic waste in the brain. In the central nervous system, there are glial cells that help maintain homeostasis, form myelin, and provide protection and support for neurons. The only time the glial cells can come out and clean up the mess created during the day is when we are asleep. When we miss sleep, we’re not allowing our brain to recuperate and regenerate, so that’s why we wake up fatigued. This can makes us more vulnerable both emotionally and cognitively. How do we prevent this?

Mature Woman SleepingAccording to the basic cognitive behavioral therapy and guidelines for sleep, here are a few tips that can help your brain rest better.

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Have a routine in place so that you can start to turn your brain off.
  • Put structure around your sleep.
    • If you can’t stop the thoughts from turning in your head, journal about it and get it out of your brain.
    • If you put it on paper, it makes you feel like you are in control of it.
  • Don’t accept the way you are feeling as the new norm; you can change it.
  • Take action with the things that you are worrying about and it will help ease the stress. Sometimes it is the worry about not being able to sleep that keeps us up.

Oxygen can also play an important role with brain power. We normally get 21% of oxygen just regularly breathing. Getting enough oxygen to the brain is required to promote brain healing and brain use. The brain uses about three times as much oxygen as muscles in the body do. Brain cells are extremely sensitive when there is a decrease in oxygen levels and don’t survive very long without it.

Brain power is compromised more often than you think because brain injuries are more common than you think. Anytime you hit your head, you have created vulnerability in the brain. The obvious injuries are easier to diagnose, but did you know that many people have had head trauma at one point in their life and don’t even realize it? They don’t recognize it because it’s not something that was apparent to them at the time.

Be it a blunt force hit to the head during a car accident, or a small concussion you received playing sports as a kid, any kind of trauma to the brain can cause side effects later on in life. Those could include depression, anxiety, and even ADD. Lucky for us, the human body has ways of healing itself. Two very important factors that can help with that are sleep and oxygen.

With those who have suffered a head trauma, there are cells that are damaged. When the cells are damaged they become idle, meaning they aren’t dead, they just sit there. Oxygen can stimulate those cells and wake them up. With enough oxygen, the idle cells become active. The limbic system will start to work better and you will start to have a better overall well-being.

Mature Woman Taking a WalkIncreasing oxygen in the brain is easier than it sounds. With some practice, you can master these easy tips.

  • Relax your stomach and breathe normally.
  • Throughout the day, focus on breathing through your nose, not your mouth.
  • Find time during your busy day to take a short walk. This will increase your circulation and increase oxygen to your brain.

So give yourself permission to take an extra break in the day. Breathe deep and relax. Increasing your sleep and oxygen flow will benefit you not only in the present but for many years to come.

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