Sleep Deprivation Can Impair Memory and Focus

November 25, 2013 2 min read

A new study suggests that people who can’t get a good sleep, or insomniacs, may have focus problems and  memory issues compared to those who sleep well.

Sleep Helps Memory
Sleep Helps Memory

The research team from the UCSD compared the brain scans of insomniacs and normal sleepers. Their studies revealed that there is a huge difference between the groups regarding brain function. Those with insomnia were observed to have delayed reaction and memory lapses. The researchers initiated the study to see if constant sleep deprivation affects the brain.

The researchers recruited 25 individuals with insomnia and 25 more who were  considered normal sleepers. They were all subjected to brain scans to see if there were differences in the brain while taking  memory tests.
“We found that insomnia subjects did not  turn on brain regions critical to a working memory task and did not turn off ‘mind-wandering’ brain regions irrelevant to the task,” said co-author Sean Drummond to BBC. “This data helps us understand that people with insomnia not only have trouble sleeping at night, but their brains are not functioning as efficiently during the day.” The study was published in the online journal Sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, not getting sleep is considered a public health issue as it is associated to road accidents, industrial disasters, and medical and work inaccuracies. Aside from that, it could affect the health as well as it is also associated with other diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity. The center estimates that up to 70 million of the U.S population is not getting a good sleep.