Why Your Brain Needs Sleep

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I am sure we have all experienced the lack of focus and the irritability that comes from lack of sleep. How can we be an effective CEO of the family if we are easily irritated and can’t focus on the job at hand. 

According to Dr Todd LePine, “You are more mentally impaired with sleep deprivation than you are being drunk.” 

Another downside to not enough sleep is the accumulation of metabolic waste in the brain. Researchers at Boston University have discovered that during sleep, the fluid present in the brain and spinal cord, washes in and out like waves, helping the brain rinse away this harmful metabolic waste1.

For quality sleep, we need to get sunlight and our sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm) in sync. Sunlight triggers the brain to stop the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, while lack of sunlight at dusk starts the production again. Melatonin is produced at the base of the brain in the pituitary gland.

Now that we can have light 24 hours a day, we need to monitor our exposure to light so that it doesn’t interfere with our night-time production of melatonin.

Here are ways to help the brain produce melatonin at night:

  • Use low lighting after sundown to help activate melatonin.
  • Install dimmable lights that have warm not cool bulbs.
  • Eat foods rich in melatonin for dinner like tart cherries, goji berries, cranberries, milk, eggs, fatty fish, rice, mushrooms, and pistachio nuts2,3.
  • Enable night mode on your technology screens.
  • Avoid screens altogether for at least one hour before bed.
  • Install blackout curtains if your summer days are very long.
  • Enjoy some direct sun first thing in the morning. 

When making any change in your household, it helps to explain why to the other members of the family. Perhaps they can come up with some other ideas.


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326896
  2. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/nutrition/food-and-drink-promote-good-nights-sleep
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409706