The Latest Benefit of a Good Night’s Sleep

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to his beloved sleep.” – Psalm 127:2

A good, solid 8-hour minimum of sleep has been linked to better academic performance for children and increased weight loss in adults. But a new study suggests that quality sleep-time may also hold the key to mental health.

Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester and one of the authors of the study says the brain is “like a dishwasher,” according to NPR’s report last week. During sleep, scientists observed that the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brains of mice dramatically increased, effectively washing away waste protein buildup between brain cells left over from waking hours.

If the same goes for human brains, this study could be the key to answering the question of why we need sleep, and shed light on the connection between sleep disorders and brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. The brain-cleansing process has also been found in rats and baboons, but humans haven’t yet been studied.

I would argue that just before sleep is an ideal time to do a little mental cleansing of your own through prayer. After the kids are put to bed is an ideal time for self-reflection, so if you keep a journal, write down your vision for your life and your purpose; write what positive actions you have contributed to the world that day; and write three positive things about yourself. Then, when you pray, ask God for His strength to continue on your path to achieving your calling.

God’s plan for you is a life of wellness and abundance – and nothing starts off a new day than a prayer before bed and a good night’s sleep.