Lack of sleep, Kills your Brain
In the human brain, we have cells called astrocytes. They prune unnecessary synapses in the brain to remodel its wiring. Another type, called a microglial cell, prowls the brain for damaged cells and debris and does cleaning up.
Now, hold that thought for a second as we get to it.
An experiment was conducted by researchers on two groups of mice. One group ( the first) was allowed to sleep at whatever time they wanted and for as long as they wanted after being kept awake for 8hrs.
The second group was deprived of sleep for more than 5 days in a row!
5 days is usually too much, it mimics chronic sleep loss.
Clubbing for 2 days in a row on campus made us feel like zombies, 5 days in a row would be death surely.
What scientists found out was this;
They found that after an undisturbed sleep, astrocytes appeared to be active in around six percent of the synapses in the brains of the well-rested mice.
However, astrocytes seemed to be more active in sleep-deprived mice — those that had lost eight hours of sleep showed astrocyte activity in around eight percent of their synapses, while the cells were active in 13.5 percent of the synapses of the chronically sleep-deprived animals, researchers said.
This suggests that sleep loss can trigger astrocytes to start breaking down more of the brain’s connections and their debris, reported ‘New Scientist’. “We show for the first time that portions of synapses are literally eaten by astrocytes because of sleep loss,” said Michele Bellesi of the Marche Polytechnic University. “In the short term, this might be beneficial — clearing potentially harmful debris and rebuilding worn circuitry might protect healthy brain connections,” said Bellesi. “But it may cause harm in the long term, and could explain why a chronic lack of sleep puts people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders,” he added.
Burning the midnight oil can lead your brain to ‘eat’ up its connections, worn-out cells, and debris, say scientists who found that lack of sleep may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
So, as I always advise, hit 8 to 9hrs of sleep daily. Whatever is urgent can wait.