Can Lymphatic Decongestion Help Improve Cognitive Function?

Did you know lymph channels in the brain and central nervous system open up and drain neurotoxins during sleep? In 2015 a study done by University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers discovered these lymphatic vessels, referred to as the glymphatic system, which indicate a strong connection between the immune system and the function of the brain and central nervous system. (1-5) Researchers found that these glymphatic vessels can drain approximately three pounds of toxic waste out of the brain each year - that is the entire weight of the brain per year! They concluded that it takes 6-8 hours of sleep for neurotoxins to fully drain from the brain each night. This shows how important adequate sleep is considering  glymphatic congestion has been linked to autoimmune concerns, infection, inflammation, cognitive decline, memory and mood related issues. (2, 8-9) 

The Glymphatic vessels drain one of the most well-known neurotoxins, beta-amyloid plaque which can accumulate in the brain causing neurodegeneration and potentially lead to Alzheimer’s (6).  Studies show that the less you sleep, the slower the glymphatic vessels drain and the more beta-amyloid accumulates in the brain. The more beta-amyloid that accumulates, the worse you sleep and the worse your memory can become. (7-9)

The good news is changing the way you sleep can help your body drain these toxins even faster! A study from Stony Brook University, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that lying on your side when you sleep may be the most efficient position for toxins to flush out of the brain through the glymphatic system.  The study was done on rodents and found that the rodents who were in the lateral position cleared beta-amyloid proteins about 25 percent better than when sleeping on their backs or stomach. (10)

One of the most effective ways to drain toxins from your body is regular Lymphatic Decongestion treatments and the glymphatic system is no exception. Like your lymphatic system, the glymphatic system is made to drain itself however due to modern environmental toxins, poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and lack of sleep our body needs a little help to keep things moving. We have had patients report clearer thinking, improved mood, better sleep, and more energy after their lymphatic sessions. Make your appointment for lymphatic drainage here and check out our blog 10 ways to keep a clear lymphatic system for more information on how to keep your lymph flowing at home.