We have talked extensively about the lymphatic system in the past because it is key to a healthy body. This system works to remove toxins from the body and transports white blood cells where they are needed to fight infection. (source) If the lymphatic system is sluggish, then the body isn’t getting the help it needs to stay fit.
Some things one can do to get the lymphatic system moving is to exercise. Rebounding, or jumping on a small trampoline, is the best exercise possible for getting the lymphatic system moving again. One can also perform a lymphatic drainage massage or try dry brushing. These are all good methods for moving lymph in the body.
Getting lymph fluid to move in and out of the brain, however, is a bit more difficult, but just as necessary.
Cerebrospinal fluid moving through the glymphatic system. (Wikimedia)
The Glymphatic System — Moving Waste Away from the Brain and Central Nervous System
Until just recently, modern science was unaware of the glymphatic system, a waste removal system just for the brain and central nervous system. This is because it is a very small system located in the area of the body we know the least about.
The glymphatic system works to remove toxins and proteins from the brain while distributing the glucose, lipids, and amino acids the brain needs to function properly. Poor function of this system could lead to cognitive problems like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease, ALS, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (degenerative brain disease due to repeated head trauma).
Thus, making sure the glymphatic system is working properly is important for both physical and mental health. A congested or sluggish system puts a real drain on cognitive abilities and even one’s ability to control his or her moods.
Sleeping and the Glymphatic System
The glymphatic system is only active at night when we are asleep, thus, the position we sleep in determines how well the glymphatic system can do its job.
In a study performed by Stony Brook University and published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers studied the glymphatic system in rats while they were sleeping. They found that sleeping position played a big role in how much fluid was moved in and out of the brain.
Rats who were sleeping with their heads raised had the least amount of fluid movement, while those who slept on their sides without their head supported had excellent fluid movement.
One can deduce from these studies that the best way to sleep is on your side and, honestly, without a pillow. This is the best way to get the glymphatic system moving again and keep the brain healthy.
However, sleeping in this manner would mean getting rid of pillowa. This can be difficult for some but the added benefits are worth the effort.
David Wolfe has talked extensively about this. Pillows are no good for our heads and necks. Not only do they cause neck pain, they also make it more difficult for blood to flow into the brain while we sleep. It is best to just give them up and sleep on an arm instead.
Check out his words of advice in the video below!