Sleep Deprivation Making You Zone Out? Here's Why.

Posted on November 20, 2017

Photo: pexels

New Research published in the Nature Medicine find that communication between brain cells are disrupted when there is sleep deprivation. Temporary lapses in memory and even hallucinations are an effect of these disruptions, which also explains the feeling of being "spaced out" when you do not get sufficient sleep.

Carried out on patients with electrodes implanted in their brains prior to surgery for epilepsy, the study found that as the participants became more sleepy, the communication between their brain cells also slowed down. The impact of this was a decrease in their reactions to cognitive tests. It was discovered that "starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly...paving the way for cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us", as put by Professor Itzhak Fried, who led the study.

Sleep deprivation was found to dampen brain cell activity, in terms of slower cellular communication and overall brain wave activity. This disruption of brain activity also meant a disruption in the respondent's ability to perform tasks. It was suggested that "select regions of the patients' brains were dozing" which led to "mental lapses, while the rest of the brain was awake and running".

It was ultimately concluded that not having adequate sleep exerts a similar influence on the brain to, say, drinking too much alcohol. This can be especially dangerous when it comes to tasks such as driving. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to depression, obesity, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.

Get more sleep everyday, your brain (and your health) will thank you for that.


Source material from PsyBlog

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