Your Brain on Sleep—The Personal Side

If you were alive in 1987, you might remember the anti-drug campaign ad that talked about “your brain on drugs” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOnENVylxPI). The ad set out to compare our brains to an egg and how doing drugs was like breaking and frying the egg.

When it comes to sleep—poor sleep would be the frying pan in this ad, and our brain would crack and fry when sleep deprived. However, there is another question at play. What would it look like if our brain came into contact with quality sleep? Here are some benefits of sleep…or “your brain on sleep” from www.health.gov. Those that report sleeping well:

  • Get sick less often
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Reduce stress and improve your mood
  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
  • Get along better with people
  • Make good decisions and avoid injuries — for example, when driving

These are just some of the benefits of sleep. As I mentioned before in the practical blog on this topic, sleep is also a time when the brain actually prunes itself so that it may more easily learn and store new information. In order to learn, we must sleep.

Due to sickness, children, stress and other factors, I have experienced times in my life when my sleep quality and quantity was not ideal. One thing that has helped me consistently sleep better, no matter what is going on in my life is my sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is the habits and practices conducive to sleeping well. For me, sleep hygiene looks like: not drinking caffeine past lunchtime, not watching TV or being on my phone right before bed, not eating a heavy meal close to bedtime and reading something to calm down before finally falling asleep.

If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, we can help. Whether you need an experienced psychotherapist to help you process the difficult life season you are in, or you need help identifying good sleep hygiene behaviors, we can help. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our mental health clinicians and learn how to rest easy.


Yolanda Brailey