Did you know that one of the fundamental reasons for sleep is to help the brain to cleanse itself of harmful materials? Research has shown that brain cells shrink during sleep to open up the gaps between neurons and allow fluid to wash the brain clean. In effect, our brains use sleep to wash away the waste toxins built up during a hard day's thinking.
But how does it do this? Basically, the brain has its own network of plumbing pipes - known as the glymphatic system - which carries waste material out of the brain. Mouse studies revealed how the brain's glymphatic waste disposal system works, by pumping cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) through brain tissue and flushing toxins into the blood circulation and liver (the big recycling plant!).
When CSF flow is hindered then brain cells can’t receive essential nutrients nor cleanse themselves well. This can cause cell stress that may lead to cell dysfunction. Only now are scientists looking into the link of poor CSF flow with diseases.
So we have two brain states - one where we are awake and aware of our surroundings and thus processing lots of information and the other where we are asleep and basically 'taking out the trash'! It is already known how damaging sleep deprivation can be (there's a reason it was used as a torture and you only have to look at new parents to see this too), but now the reasons for it are being uncovered which is very exciting.
It is interesting that one primary intent of craniosacral therapy is to encourage the flow of CSF, which might explain why many clients often fall asleep during treatment! This could also point to why many clients feel nourished and supported post treatment.
Here is a good video on the cerebral spinal fluid if you want to learn more.
Craniosacral sessions are available with Ri in Bristol, Cirencester and Cherington.