Skip to Content

A New Study Shows That Sleeping Less Than 6 or 5 Hours per Night May Be a Warning Sign of Your Likelihood of Developing Dementia

In the ancient Ayurvedic medical system, the lymphatic system, or rasa dhatu, is considered the first system in the body to be treated. This system functions as the primary plumbing system for draining waste and transporting the immune response throughout the body’s various systems. An essential part of this drainage process, which has only recently been studied in-depth, is the brain’s glymphatic system. This article will explore the science behind the glymphatic system, its importance in maintaining brain health, and potential strategies to support its optimal functioning.

Sleep and Memory

The glymphatic system refers to specialized lymph channels within the brain that open up and drain harmful neurotoxins into the cerebral spinal fluid during sleep. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center provided evidence that this brain drain process takes approximately 6-8 hours of sleep to complete, highlighting the importance of getting adequate sleep for optimal brain function (1-4). The glymphatic system shares similarities with the body’s lymphatic system, draining toxic waste and proteins from the brain during natural sleep cycles.

One of the most widely recognized neurotoxins, beta-amyloid plaque, is drained through the brain’s glymphatic system. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can impede the glymphatic system’s ability to clear beta-amyloid, leading to its accumulation in the brain (5). As beta-amyloid accumulates, sleep quality and memory function may be negatively affected. This neurotoxin has been implicated in various cognitive and memory-related issues, which are now being more thoroughly investigated (6-8).

In Ayurveda, the glymphatic system is referred to as “tarpaka kapha,” an aspect of the kapha dosha responsible for draining toxins from the brain into the cerebral spinal fluid. If these channels become congested, it can result in mood changes, compromised memory, and brain fog. Factors contributing to this imbalance can include emotional trauma, stress, inadequate sleep, and digestive weakness.

Several strategies can be employed to address the imbalance in the glymphatic system. These include nasya, a practice involving sniffing herbalized nasya oil into the sinuses (9), maintaining balanced blood sugar levels (10), and the use of herbs such as Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) and Brahmi (Centella asiatica). Bacopa is a known brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that supports healthy brain cells, stable mood, and normal memory function (11). Brahmi has been found to support healthy cerebral microcirculation, mood, sleep, and memory (12).

One non-Ayurvedic technique for supporting the brain’s lymphatic system is regular physical exercise. Research has shown that engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, can enhance glymphatic clearance and promote the removal of neurotoxins from the brain (13). Exercise is thought to increase heart rate, blood flow, and cerebrospinal fluid circulation, which in turn facilitates the brain’s waste clearance system. Additionally, exercise has been found to improve cognitive function, mood, and overall brain health by promoting the release of endorphins and other neurochemicals that support neuronal growth and plasticity. To maximize the benefits of exercise on the glymphatic system, it is recommended to incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, spread across multiple days (14). By combining regular physical activity with adequate sleep and other strategies mentioned earlier, individuals can further support the proper functioning of their brain’s lymphatic system, promoting cognitive health and well-being.

Ensuring the proper functioning of your brain’s glymphatic system is essential for maintaining optimal cognitive health. By understanding the science behind this system, taking measures to promote its effectiveness, and using appropriate resources, you can help to protect your brain from the harmful effects of neurotoxins and maintain a healthy, clear mind.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.