Good morning. Again a look at sleep and how it helps with detoxification – OF THE BRAIN.
One third of your lymph nodes are in the brain. The brain has its own unique lymphatic system enabled by glial cells. Originally called the “glial-lymphatic system,” it was eventually shortened to glymphatic system.
The brain releases toxins which are expelled whilst we rest (sleep) through this specialised system, then pass into the collar bone to join the normal filtration. This is why sleep is so important for ridding the brain of toxic waste. Lack of sleep means less clearance of toxins and if this happens consistently it may impact brain health and cause neuroinflammation.
As I heard one neuro-specialist quote on a recent podcast:
If you do not get adequate sleep and enough slow-wave sleep, I believe that the reason you wake up groggy in the morning is because the glymphatic system hasn’t got all that, “crap out of your brain.”
The glymphatic system is mostly inactive when we’re awake, but during sleep it fills channels in our brain (known as interstitial space) with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It doesn’t have a pump like our circulatory system does (the heart), but it does run parallel to our arteries and researchers think that it harnesses the pulsing of our blood to move the fluid. As it fills the channels, the fluid exchanges beneficial compounds for cellular garbage. It delivers nourishment including glucose, lipids, amino acids, growth factors, and neuromodulators while gathering cellular garbage.
The interstitial fluid is then flushed out, taking the cellular garbage with it. From there the fluid empties into the primary lymph system, where it is then processed via the main detoxification pathways.
Deep breathing and certain postures – particularly side sleeping at night – also support the flow of CSF. Movement and consumption of omega 3 fatty acids are things you can do during the day to support this intricate detoxification system.
If you would like to read more about glymphatics and sleep, you may find this article interesting: