Sleep plays a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and it’s essential for us to be able to function properly. Yet, Americans don’t get enough sleep and when they do, it’s not nearly as deep or beneficial as it needs to be.
Everyone knows sleep affects our brains, but a recent UCLA study tells us just how this happens. 12 UCLA epileptic patients had electrodes implanted in their brains to pinpoint the origin of their seizures. Since a lack of sleep can provoke seizures, the patients stood awake all night to invoke seizure onset.
Throughought the night, participants were asked to categorize images as fast as they possibly could and the electrodes recorded their brain activity. The results were fascinating.
Not surprisingly, the patients had a harder time as they grew sleepier. Dr. Itzhak Fred, professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Tel Aviv University, says, “Inadequate sleep exerts a similar influence on our brain as drinking too much.”
The results showed that lack of sleep interfered with a neuron’s ability to function properly, with specific decreases in:
- Firing speed
- Encoding information
- Transferring visual input into conscious thought
In other words, lack of sleep can increase mental lapsess and mistakes because of slower neuron activity. Studies have also shown that sleep deprivation can lead to a heightened risk of depression, diabetes and even stroke as well.
So, how can you avoid it?
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