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Detox While You Sleep

Rubin Naiman, Ph., refers to the brain as a “second gut” because it digests and assimilates information during our dreams throughout sleep. Much of this assimilation occurs during the brain’s natural detoxification process, known as the glymphatic system.

The glymphatic system gets its name thanks to its similarities to the lymphatic system and its dependence on glial brain cells. Acting as a pathway for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) movement through the brain, the glymphatic system flushes out the “garbage,” or neurotoxins; it picks up along the way.

For the glymphatic system to work effectively, your body must get into restorative sleep cycles, meaning sleep and dreams are essential to functioning. If the glymphatic system can’t do its job, the resulting buildup of neurotoxins can have profound health implications, including an increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Critical activities occur during the sleep state.

  1. Internal organs rest and recover. Tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis primarily happen during sleep.

  2. Hormones that help regulate appetite control, stress, development, metabolism, and other bodily functions are released.

  3. Memory consolidation occurs, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, essential for learning new information.


There are many factors involved in the relationship between sleep and health. While it may be more challenging to prove that quality sleep improves health scientifically, the adverse effects of sleep deprivation are widely documented.

  • Decline in cognitive function:

Measurable changes in brain activity occur after a period

of sleep deprivation. When you don’t get enough sleep,

your mental performance suffers, impairing your ability to process new

information and perform more complicated tasks. This may also impact

your mood, focus, and cognitive function. Sleep loss

has been shown to impair decision-making, which may lead you to make

choices you wouldn’t make if rested – this effect may be even more

pronounced as we get older.

  • Weight gain

Individuals who don’t get adequate sleep are likelier to gain weight

over time. Contributing to this weight gain is increased 

calories consumed during the day, particularly high-fat foods consumed

later in the evening.

  • Increased risk of chronic disease

Your body is more susceptible to stress without a good night’s sleep. The

the immune system does not function optimally, and inflammatory proteins

and blood sugar levels increase in response to lower levels of insulin

being released throughout the night. Chronic short sleep duration is also

associated with hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries

When you’re physically and mentally exhausted, there’s an increased

risk of injuries, errors, and accidents. This tired state of mind may lead to

mishaps like stubbing your toe, cutting yourself in the kitchen, falling, or

getting into an accident.

  • Increased anxiety

Without sufficient rest, you may have trouble keeping your emotions in

check. Increased feelings of irritability, anxiety, sadness, and anger are

common. You may even find yourself more vulnerable to unprovoked

laughter or tears.

Footnote: The Health Coach Training Program™. Integrative Nutrition, LLC

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