You can find a detox protocol for just about anything these days, including your brain.
With the right supplements, cleansing herbs, and a major overhaul of your diet, among other things, you can supposedly: banish grogginess
enhance your memory
boost your cognitive function
While certain lifestyle changes can certainly have a positive impact on your health, most medical experts agree that detoxes, including those that focus on your brain, aren’t necessary.
Also, there’s no compelling research to support the use of detoxes.
Your body already has processes in place to get rid of toxins and keep things running smoothly. When it comes to your brain, there’s actually an entire system dedicated to detoxification.
Here’s a look at how the process works and the simple things you can do to support it.
When it comes to detoxification, your brain is pretty good at taking care of business on its own.
Research published in 2015 explains this happens as part of the function of the glymphatic system, which removes waste products from your brain and nervous system . Think of it as the brain’s trash collector.
The glymphatic system does most of its work while you sleep. During sleep, your other bodily processes are less active, allowing glymphatic activity to take priority.
Animal research suggests that there’s also a higher volume of open space between the cells in your brain during sleep, which allows more room for your brain to take out the trash, so to speak.
This process is somewhat complicated, but here’s a quick look at how it works: First, the channels of the glymphatic system fill with cerebrospinal fluid.
This fluid collects “garbage” like proteins, toxins, and other waste products as it flows along the network.
Your brain then flushes this waste at different drainage sites, where it moves through your body and exits just like any other type of waste.
One important product removed from the brain when eliminating waste products is the protein β-amyloid (beta-amyloid), which experts believe plays a part in the development of Alzheimer’s disease .
Sleep plays an essential role in the function of the glymphatic system. Getting enough sleep each night is one of the best ways to support your brain’s natural detoxification process.
If you have trouble getting enough quality sleep, try these tips for a better, more refreshing rest. Maintain a regular bedtime
If you don’t have any particular reason to get up at a specific time each day, your sleep schedule might be all over the place. Maybe you keep a regular bedtime during the week but stay up late and sleep in over the weekend.
This might feel natural to you, but over time, it can do a number on your sleep-wake cycle .
Going to bed (and waking up) at approximately the same time every day can help you get better rest and improve your overall sleep quality.
You can still stay up a little later than usual and sleep in when you don’t need to get up early — just try to avoid varying your sleep schedule by more than an hour.
Part of consistent sleep involves getting the right amount of sleep, which can range from 7 to 9 hours.
Pro tip: Use a sleep calculator to figure out when you should go to bed. Consider your diet
Eating certain foods, especially later in the day, may disrupt your sleep.
For better sleep, try to avoid the following just before bedtime :If you feel hungry before bedtime, try a better bedtime snack , such as: a banana yogurt a small bowl of oatmeal cheese, fruit, and crackers Create a comfortable sleeping environment Keeping your bedroom cool and dark can help you get better sleep.If you tend to get warm or cold during the night, opt for layers of lightweight, breathable bedding.You might also consider adding a fan to your room, which can also help to block out any noises that tend to keep you up.Using your room only for sleeping and sex can also make it easier to fall asleep when you do go to bed.That way, your brain knows that getting into bed means you’re ready to sleep, not watch TV or scroll through social media. Set aside some de-stress time before bed Stress and anxiety are both common culprits behind sleep issues. Making time to relax before bed won’t necessarily get rid of these concerns, but it can help you put them out of your mind for the eveningAn hour or so before bedtime, try: writing out things you need to take care of the next day so you won’t worry about them You know that refreshed, focused feeling (despite your tired muscles) you have after a big workout? That’s the glymphatic system kicking in. Animal research published in 2018 suggests exercise can have a significant effect on waste disposal in the brain.According to the study results, mice that could exercise by running on a wheel displayed twice the glymphatic activity as mice that couldn’t exercise.It’s important to note that the increase in glymphatic activity is likely associated with running rather than a direct result of it.Exercise has plenty of other benefits , too.It can: help lower your risk for many health conditions decrease stress increase energy improve your mood improve cognitive function It’s also worth mentioning that exercise can help you get better sleep, which can also promote glymphatic system function.Experts recommend getting at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week.You can also ramp up the intensity and see similar benefits with just 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of intense or vigorous aerobic exercise.You don’t have to get all your weekly activity at once, either. It’s usually best (and easiest) to get about half an hour of exercise each day.Any exercise is better than no exercise, so doing what you can to increase the amount of physical activity you get each week can help. Try squeezing in a 15-minute walk after lunch or dinner (or both), for example.Sleep and exercise are beneficial for your brain, but you can […]