One of the central themes in Brain Wash is regaining the ability to make good choices. Not a day goes by that we don’t see or hear about another new book telling us how a specific diet, or other lifestyle change, will likely bring about health. As you might expect, I know many of these authors (and I’ve been honored to host many on The Empowering Neurologist) and, these days, almost all of these books are absolutely providing terrific information. Where the disconnect happens is between information and action, meaning it’s all well and good to read these books, but thereafter, choices have to be made to implement the material that has been learned.
Our choices, especially those that involve planning for the future, are by and large mediated by an area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. When we are disconnected from the prefrontal cortex, our decisions are impulsive, not well thought out, and generally represent the input from another part of the brain, the amygdala.
Here, we will explore how lack of sleep favors decision-making from the amygdala, and disconnects us from the input from the thoughtful prefrontal cortex. This disconnection is part of a more global Disconnection Syndrome that you will learn more about in Brain Wash.
As you will soon see, getting a good night’s sleep is pivotal for making good decisions.