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What Does Your Junk Drawer and Sleep Have in Common?

January 21, 2021 — Jeffrey Wood

We all have one. That’s right, that drawer in your kitchen or bedroom that houses all the junk that seems to accumulate throughout the years. How often do you clean it out and throw away unneeded items? At some point, it becomes so full that the drawer is no longer useful unless we clean and sort it.

Guess what? Our amazing brain has one too, except, we call it the hippocampus. Throughout the day information is temporarily shoved into that “drawer” and is used as a temporary filing space. The purpose of the hippocampus is not to categorize, organize or sort those memories or experiences at all. It is merely to serve as an entry point into our brain for that information. As we are awake, our hippocampus is collecting all sorts of experiential information, as well as collecting memories of conversations and what we have seen, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted through our five senses.

Just like that drawer in your house, there is only so much space for all that information in our brains. Unless we go through some sort of cleaning process, our hippocampus becomes overloaded and has problems accepting any more information. In order to accept more data, it must start “kicking” out previous information that has been stored but not fully processed.

This is where good sleep comes in. During one of the stages of sleep called “slow wave sleep”, large areas of the brain work together to pull that same information out of the hippocampus and categorize and sort it into the various areas of our memories.  

It is amazing that we can go to sleep or as the saying goes, “let’s sleep on it” and the junk drawer of our brain gets emptied organized, and sorted.  No wonder experts tell us that if we want to improve memory, we must devote sufficient time to sleep. Meditating or having some quiet time to collect our thoughts is not enough.

For additional questions or concerns related to your sleep, please feel free to reach out to a member of the Complete Sleep Program with Iron Road Healthcare. We can be reached at 1-833-878-2727.  Sleep is vital to good health and our aim is to help you with those concerns.

Written by

Jeffrey Wood

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