Taking a nap, we’ve seen time and again, is like rebooting your brain. Everyone likes to get a quick nap in every now and then, but napping may be as much of an art as it is a science. The Wall Street Journal offers recommendations for planning your perfect nap, including how long to nap and when.
By: Elizabeth Renter
Although we don’t know exactly why, there is no question that sleep is crucial for brain and overall health. Without proper sleep, the chance of disease and stress increases notably. Now, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Center for Translational Neuromedicine have foundthat sleeping actually helps detoxify the brain, potentially offering clues into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The study, published in the journal Science, reveals that your brain has a unique method of removing toxic waste through ‘the glymphatic system’. Even more interesting, it seems that brain cells shrink by about 60% during sleep, allowing for waste to be removed more easily.
“Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain,” said Maiken Nedergaard, co-author of the study. “It appears to be a completely different state.”
Mark Dice is a media analyst, author, and political activist who, in an entertaining and educational way, gets people to question our celebrity obsessed culture and the role the mainstream media and elite secret societies play in shaping our lives.
The capacity of memory in the brain to store, process and recall information is truly a wondrous blessing of Allah. We use our memory to gain beneficial knowledge; we also use our memory to recall the mistakes we’ve made in the past and learn from them to become better.
For instance, remembering how we may have spent time during Ramadan unproductively last year may motivate us to utilize time fruitfully this Ramadan.
Many associate aging with memory loss, but it doesn’t have to be that way as demonstrated by +80 grandparents who complete memorization of The Qur’an! The following are some tips to strengthen your memory:
• Use it or Lose it
Treat you brain as a muscle – if you want to keep it fit and agile, you have to use it. Reading books, memorizing Qur’an, memorizing beneficial knowledge, and prayer are all the best way for Muslims to exercise their mind. The sense of being closer to Allah (The Exalted) will also protect us from depression which has negative effects on the mind. If you like, you could also try other academic exercises or mental challenges for fun.
• Brain Food
A well-balanced diet is beneficial to keep your memory at its best. A recent study conducted in France has found that use of olive oil improves visual memory and verbal fluency. The virtue of the olive is also mentioned in The Qur’an, and Allah (The All-Wise) takes an oath by this special food (95:1). Foods that contain high omega-3 content, such as salmon, are also important for the memory and brain function. Furthermore, your memory needs adequate sugar and vitamins that most of that will naturally be in your diet (if it’s not, try honey, dates, blueberries, and almonds).
• Healthy Body for a Healthy Mind
Physical exercises, especially aerobic ones, are beneficial to keep the mind alert and healthy. If you can’t do aerobic exercises, the good news is that a moderate amount of walking on daily basis can keep the mind healthy too. Indeed, walking for most people is pretty easy to maintain as a regular activity (even taking the stairs instead of the elevator exercises your body).
Taking a nap improves memory and mood, promotes physical well-being, and sharpen senses. Napping has many benefits so taking a 15-30 minute before or after Zhuhr should significantly affect your intellectual performance, energy level, and plus – it’s sunnah!
• Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep
Recent German research lab finds that sleep helps memory shaping. Sleep is needed to clear the brain’s short-term memory storage and create space for new information. Sleep and nighttime is yet another mercy and blessing from Allah, The Most Generous:
”It is out of His Mercy that He has put for you night and day, that you may rest therein (i.e. during the night) and that you may seek of His Bounty (i.e. during the day), and in order that you may be grateful.” [28: 73]
• Ask for it
If you want a good memory, ask Al-Mujib (The Answerer of Prayers). Ask Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) for what you need – beneficial knowledge, understanding, good memory.
Our memory is indeed a true blessing of Allah, and we should be grateful for it. To show our appreciation, let us keep it healthy and use it for beneficial purposes that lead us to get closer to Allah, The Most Merciful.
1. Rauchs, G. et al. 2011. Sleep contributes to the strengthening of some memories over others, depending on hippocampal activity at learning. J. Neuroscience. 31 (7): 2563-2568.
2. “The Memory Cure – How to Protect Your Brain Against Memory Loss & Alzheimer’s Disease” by Majid Fotuhi, M. D., PH. D. McGraw- Hill, 2003.
3. “Keep Your Brain Young” by Guy McKhann, M.D & Marilyn Albert, Ph.D. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2002.
About the author
Rushda Abraham is a French Muslim Woman Magazine journalist.
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According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds, half of whom smoked pot recreationally and half of whom didn’t. What they found was rather shocking: Even those who only smoked few times a week had significant brain abnormalities in the areas that control emotion and motivation.
“There is this general perspective out there that using marijuana recreationally is not a problem — that it is a safe drug,” said Anne Blood, a co-author of the study. “We are seeing that this is not the case.”
The science: Similar studies have found a correlation between heavy pot use and brain abnormalities, but this is the first study that has found the same link with recreational users. The 20 people in the “marijuana group” of the study smoked four times a week on average; seven only smoked once a week. Those in the control group did not smoke at all.
“We looked specifically at people who have no adverse impacts from marijuana — no problems with work, school, the law, relationships, no addiction issues,” said Hans Breiter, another co-author of the study.
Using three different neuroimaging techniques, researchers then looked at the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala of the participants. These areas are responsible for gauging the benefit or loss of doing certain things, and providing feelings of reward for pleasurable activities such as food, sex and social interactions.
“This is a part of the brain that you absolutely never ever want to touch,” said Breiter. “I don’t want to say that these are magical parts of the brain — they are all important. But these are fundamental in terms of what people find pleasurable in the world and assessing that against the bad things.”
Shockingly, every single person in the marijuana group, including those who only smoked once a week, had noticeable abnormalities, with the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala showing changes in density, volume and shape. Those who smoked more had more significant variations.
What will happen next? The study’s co-authors admit that their sample size was small. Their plan now is to conduct a bigger study that not only looks at the brain abnormalities, but also relates them to functional outcomes. That would be a major and important step in this science because, as of now, the research indicates that marijuana use may cause alterations to the brain, but it’s unclear what that might actually mean for users and their brains.
But for now, they are standing behind their findings.
“People think a little marijuana shouldn’t cause a problem if someone is doing OK with work or school,” said Breiter. “Our data directly says this is not so.”
Insurers stop covering for cell phone use, called the next ‘casualty catastrophe’ after tobacco and asbestos; phone manufacturers hit with a class action and personal lawsuits; and the warning deep inside your mobile. Seek truth from facts with Ellie Marks, whose husband Alan is suing the industry for his brain tumor, ‘cell phone survivor’ Bret Bocook, leading radiation biologist Prof. Dariusz Leszczynski, Microwave News editor Dr. Louis Slesin, Storyleak editor Anthony Gucciardi, and former senior White House adviser Dr. Devra Davis.
Squint your eyes a little, and check out this raisin-sized gland inside your brain: Would you believe me if I told you that this tiny, unassuming organ…
May be the gateway to your highest potential as a being of infinite power? As you may have already deduced, it’s not a misplaced honey roasted peanut: it’s your pineal gland.
The famed psychic Edgar Cayce once said, “Keep the pineal gland operating and you won’t grow old – you will always be young.” Why? The truth may surprise you.
The pineal gland is an endocrine gland located at the very center of your cranium. On a physiological level, it is activated by light, and works with your hypothalamus gland to regulate your hunger, thirst, sex drive and biological clock (which explains Mr. Cayce’s quote).
The pineal gland also regulates some of your body’s most important chemicals… including the “happy chemical” serotonin and the free radical-busting antioxidant melatonin (which also regulates your sleep patterns).
It’s clear that this organ plays a crucial role in your physiological well being… but where it gets even more fascinating is the role it plays in your spiritual evolution!