Sleep, Brain Health, and Alzheimer's Prevention | SUPER BRAIN

Uploaded by TheChopraWell on 09.11.2012

I'm often asked is it possible to reverse terrible diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's,
simply with your mind. And the fact is, these diseases take on physical attributes in the
brain that cannot simply be reversed with only your mind. But what we can do is throughout
life, we can try to stave off disease. Exercise, diet, and developing a more healthy brain
by always being the conscious observer. Let your brain serve you; don't serve it.
Chopra: Rudy in the last few years there's been an amazing amount of research on the
beneficial effects of sleep and how lack of sleep is actually one of the most detrimental
things that can happen. Tell me about the relationship between sleep and brain health
specifically because that affects everything from our relationships to our social interactions
to our habits to our addictions.
Tanzi: So when we consider the benefits of sleep, you need to consider them along with
the benefits of meditation. In meditation if you're a good meditator, you know, you
can bring your brain waves down to theta. If you're really good, you can get down to
delta. So you're slowing the frequency...
Chopra: Everybody doesn't know what this means, so delta is but four...
Tanzi: Even one or two.
Chopra: One or two cycles a second, right?
Tanzi: Yeah, with theta being more towards, you know between five and ten.
Chopra: And then the normal waking state which is beta and alpha?
Tanzi: Yeah. Up around 15, 20 or higher.
Chopra: 15, 20. So you're really slowing the frequency of brain waves basically.
Tanzi: Right.
Chopra: Okay go ahead.
Tanzi: Now what will happen when you're sleeping is when you're in deep sleep, what's called
slow wave sleep, which only happens for maybe two or three hours maybe if you're lucky in
the night; during this delta wave sleep, recent research shows that this is when all of the
sensory information you took in during the day, that's temporarily stored as short-term
memory, now gets consolidated, registered onto long term memory. So the short term memory
of the brain is in one region called the hippocampus. It looks like a seahorse, like two seas together.
Chopra: Access to short term memory because we don't know...
Tanzi: Access to short-term memories.
Chopra: Yeah but good.
Tanzi: But as the sensory information and the ability to recall it is sitting in the
short term memory, to now consolidate in your long term memory regions of the brain, you
need slow wave sleep. You need delta wave sleep. In this country in the elderly, in
folks who are over 75 years old, a good proportion do not have slow wave sleep. Sleep disturbances
in the elderly are an epidemic. And even where you have decent sleep, in studies that have
been done, many elderly folks are sleeping and not getting slow wave sleep. But this
is... when you have slow wave sleep, this is when you are really allowing your brain
to consolidate all of the new information it took in, so that it's now available somewhere
in your long term memory. Now think about intuition. At some level intuition is the
ability to suddenly have a flash, an insight, where you have no idea how you got there.
Chopra: A creative leap.
Tanzi: Yeah a creative leap but you suddenly just have an intuitive sense about what's
happening. Well one contributor to an intuitive experience is that long term memories that
you don't even know you have—they’ve been stored during your slow wave sleep—all the
sensory input coming in during the day which you thought just went in and out, well it's
in there for a while. But if you want to have it available later on in order to come to
new insights, it needs to be stored somewhere. Or at least the ability to recall it has to
be stored somewhere. And that's the long term memory part of the brain. This happens during
delta wave sleep.
Chopra: So delta is the escape from the default mode.
Tanzi: Yeah. Now if you're stressed, and your cortisol levels are high, delta wave sleep
is not possible. Delta wave meditation's not possible. If you're too intellectual, and
some folks, especially those I work with think you can't be too intellectual; I would say
too much intellect can also be a poison like stress. We know the neurochemicals that are
part of intellect, if they’re too high, at too high a level, they also block delta
wave sleep and achieving a delta wave state when you meditate. So you're short-changing
yourself the ability to store sensory information you took in all day in your brain for use
later on, for example in an intuitive flash.
Chopra: You and I have created technologies that actually help people go into delta by
feeding different frequencies of sound to different parts of the brain.
Tanzi: Right. Well during sleep, many folks think it's just REM and dreaming that's important
for the health of the brain and the mind. But perhaps as important or more important
is the delta wave or slow wave sleep. This is when you consolidate your memories, and
also in terms of risk for Alzheimer's disease as you age, it's during delta wave sleep that
you turn off the production of the main toxin that accumulates in the brain that causes
Alzheimer's as we age. So delta waves are a good thing for the brain. It's possible
to induce this delta wave state by hearing a frequency that's at the same frequency,
auditory frequency that's at the same frequency as delta wave state of the mind. So this can
be done with auditory beats. It can be combined with a mask that allows you to see lights
blinking at a slower and slower rate. So you'll be hearing beats that are slowing down. Lights
blinking at a slower and slower rate to bring you down from alpha beta to theta, all the
way down to delta.
Chopra: So you can literally dial in into a dream state...
Tanzi: Yeah.
Chopra: Or dial in to a deep sleep state.
Tanzi: Yeah.
Chopra: And that's what we're creating right now.
Tanzi: And the key is not to fall asleep. So you have to program it so that you get
down to delta, but you don't fall asleep. That's one of the keys to this type of technology.
Chopra: I'm really excited about the technologies that we're creating.
Tanzi: And I think it'll be helpful for, especially for elderly folks who are having trouble with
getting enough slow wave sleep. And so at the same time you can improve your memory,
theoretically based on what we know, you'll also be turning off this default network,
and in doing so you're turning off the production of the toxins that cause Alzheimer's disease.