Princeton University

Sleep deprivation effects on the brain

Getting good sleep is very important for healthy brain. Sleep is a well, deep rest for your brain and for your entire body. Sleep provides an opportunity to restore brain cells and refreshes its working ability. An adult brain needs about seven/eight hours sleep each night to rest. But what happens when person is sleep deprived and can not get enough sleep for the brain? No sleep means no new brain cells and it means serious brain problems that can cause difficulties in a life.

Sleep was always mystery for scientists and even today it is not clear many benefits of sleep. Researchers worked on animals and made many experiments in order to find out mysteries of sleeping. Research, made by a team from Princeton University, showed that lack of sleep affects a major component of the brain, Hippocampus, which is involved forming our memories and controlling spatial navigation. Hippocampus is affected by a stress hormone Corticosterone.

Researchers deprived rats for 72 hours. After comparing deprived rats to other rested rats, they found that sleepless rats had higher level of Corticosterone and their brain cell production was decreased.
This explains decreased brain cell production in human brain that is caused by sleep deprivation. However it can not be exact fact because deprived people do not stay awake for 72 hours, so results can be different.

Another sleep deprivation effect on brain is its malfunctionality and decreased alertness. In previous article I’ve talked about physical effects of sleeplessness – You can not do simple tasks when you have fatigue. It is same about the brain. When the brain is not well rested, it can not function well.
Sleep deprivation affects brain frontal lobe that is responsible to control our emotions, behavior, judgment and making decisions. Thinking and processing the information gets harder after long time wakefulness. Not getting enough sleep can cause other serious mental problems and finally it can be fatal.

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