What happens after a night of little or no sleep?
We feel terrible. We perform terribly.
We’re cranky, irritable, unfocused. We can’t regulate our emotions. Impulses and obsessive behaviors are much harder to control.
These are all signs of an ailing brain. Signs of a brain deprived of something fundamental.
And the only remedy? In this particular case – sleep.
There’s no drug, or supplement, or diet, or meditation, or exercise, or app, or therapist, or guru, or life hack that will make us better.
When the brain is deprived of something essential, our cognitive and mental health suffers. The signs and symptoms are pronounced.
The point here is not that we need to make sure we sleep well if we want to feel and think better. The point here is that cognitive and emotional well being is directly tied to the health of the brain.
So when we aren’t thinking and feeling well, this should be the first place we look (but rarely is it, else I wouldn’t be writing this!).
Sleep is a rare example where many have made this connection (at least to some degree), and a familiar instance of what it feels like when the health of our brain is compromised.
The first question to be asked when we see signs of an ailing brain – whether it’s depression, anxiety, irritability, brain fog, forgetfulness, impulsiveness – is what is compromising the brain’s biological foundation? What critical factor or factors is it not getting enough of? What essential inputs are missing or insufficient?