If you are in the habit to mark off your sleep loss with a simple “nothing to worry” thought, think twice.
You may unaware that you are one among those who are slowly giving way to insomnia, decreased cognition, short-term and long-term memory loss, and maybe even Alzheimer’s. In short, your sleep deprivation affects your brain.
EHC brings a study on brain and its diverse functions during your sleep.
The functions of brain during sleep
1) Your wonderful brain does complex mappings while you are awake, and in the same light, another set of mappings during your sleep. During sleep, your brain starts the process of self-cleaning. The glymphatic system actuates work, it helps in the rapid flow of cerebrospinal fluid (a clear liquid) through your brain and collect the toxic byproducts that accumulates during your wake period. Since your brain uses most of its energy during the wake period to process sensory informations, the toxic cleanse is done 10 times more during your sleep when the brain is rested.
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2) During sleep, your auditory, visual, and sensory informations that are stored in short-term memory is archived or moved to long-term memory in the temporal lobe. A deep sleep of nearly 8 hours is necessary for the process to be completed; an inadequate 3-4 hours sleep does not help. A good sleep is a good benchmark for the effective functioning of your brain. Studies clearly points out that chronic sleep loss or deprivation leads to damages of brain, which sometimes end up irreversible.
3) During sleep, certain chemicals secreted by the brain cells are necessary for your body as well as the brain. One such chemical is acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, which aids muscle movements and other related functions. Long-term sleep deprivation leads to the destruction of the cells that produce acetylcholine which may lead to the early onset of Alzheimer’s.
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4) During sleep along with your body, your brain is also in the resting phase, which gives it time to interweave original connections from apparently remotely-related ideas.
Your body as well as your brain needs rest, and this happens only from a good sleep-wake cycle. If you are one among those who carry a chronic case of sleep deprivation, seek professional help before it is too late.
A point to remember: A good night’s sleep is not just for you to wake up in the morning feeling rested and refreshed but also for your brain to perform at its optimal level.