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Sleep Loss Can Cause Brain Damage, New Research Says

Sleep Loss Can Cause Brain Damage, New Research Says March 19, 2014Leave a comment

(Fox Weekly) — For some, pulling all-nighters are an every day thing. For others, pulling all-nighters means working the night shift and sleeping throughout the late morning and bigger part of afternoon. Although millions of people around the U.S. do this, new research says that sleep loss, during the night, could actually cause brain damage.

The new research was published by The Journal of Neuroscience on Tuesday. According to neuroscientist Sigrid Veasey from the University of Pennsylvania, recovering the lost night hours during the weekend, may not cut it.

Veasey and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have been recently testing this out on mice. The mice were given schedules similar to those who have night shifts. The researchers found that sleeping for only brief periods of time caused significant brain damage: the mice lost 25% of the neurons in their locus coeruleus, the section of their brain associated with alertness and cognitive function.

The scientists also believe that when the mice slept inconsistently, their newer cells would then create more sirtuin type 3, a protein meant to energize and protect the mice. But after a couple days of loss sleep, as a shift worker might, the protein creation fell off and cells began to die off at a faster speed.

“This is the first report that sleep loss can actually result in a loss of neurons,” Veasey said in a statement on the University of Pennsylvania website. The university researches have future plans of studying deceased night shifters to see what type of results it will bring.

So, unless you need the night shift, don’t go on pulling out all-nighters. Maybe once a week can work, but don’t over do it!

Reported by Joey Betancourt-Florez

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