Feeling less sharp after missing sleep is not all in your head… well, actually it is.
Studies have shown that lack of sleep is a huge contributor to lessened brain power and even declining brain size. During REM sleep, the brain becomes energized to the point that dreams occur. This stage of sleep is vital to rejuvenating the brain and repairing brain cells. Although it is recommended that individuals get a solid eight hours of sleep, naps are also beneficial to strengthening the brain and remaining alert during waking hours.
Failing to get enough sleep can be detrimental to your health and brain processes. It is even thought that sleep disorders contributing to lack of adequate sleep can result in Alzheimer’s and dementia, and, in the short term, makes it much more difficult to learn and retain new information. Although many people are aware of the damage to the body and mind that results from lack of sleep, sleep deprivation continues to be an issue, especially among students and young professionals.
Lack of sleep is horrible for your entire body so it is vital to give your mind and body the rest it needs. Sleep is also an important contributor to parts of the brain that influence growth, social interaction and emotional reactions. While you may only view sleep as a time to rest your brain, you are actually exercising it by allowing it to act in a way and produce chemicals it doesn’t have the ability to while the body is awake. Not only does lack of sleep hurt your brain, your brain cannot produce sleep inducing chemicals if you don’t go through the entire sleep cycle that occurs upon a full night’s sleep.
Give your brain a break and make sure to get adequate sleep to ensure a happy, healthy noggin.
“Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep.” : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). 25 July 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm>.
Haiken, Melanie. “Lack Of Sleep Kills Brain Cells, New Study Shows.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2014/03/20/lack-of-sleep-kills-brain-cells-new-study-suggests/>.
Willingham, Val. “Lack of Sleep May Shrink Your Brain.” CNN. Cable News Network, 1 Jan. 1970. Web. 17 Sept. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/04/health/no-sleep-brain-size/>.