Can Lack Of Sleep Damage The Brain?

Poor Sleep and Performance

Ever feel like you’ve been hit on the head after a bad night’s sleep? According to researchers, the thought isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. A recent study found being sleep deprived for just one night causes changes in the brain similar to those that occur after a blow to the head. The researchers said the healthy young men examined in the study showed a spike in the same chemicals which indicate brain damage.  Poor Sleep and Performance Professor Christian Benedict, of Uppsala University, Sweden, explained that the chemcials NSE and S-100B are biomarkers for brain damage, such as concussion.  ‘What we found was their levels in the blood rose in the group that went without sleep for a night. This was not to the extent that would happen after a head injury, for instance, but it was still significant."

It seems that during sleep, the brain cleans itself of toxic substances and NSE and S-100B increase in response to these substances. He said the findings back up previous research showing how the brain uses sleep to cleanse itself. Professor Benedict also said his study could support previous studies which linked a lack of sleep with increased risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. The rise of the chemicals in the blood after sleep loss may suggest not getting enough sleep is conducive to a loss of brain tissue,  he explained. In conclusion, the findings of the trial indicate that  a good night’s sleep may be critical for maintaining brain health. We learn from this study that it is important to get that sleep if you want to perform optimally on a daily basis.