4 ways lack of sleep or sleep deprivation affects the brain

4 ways lack of sleep or sleep deprivation affects the brain
Sleep deprivation for just 6 hours can affect the liver's ability to produce glucose and process insulin © Shutterstock

Here's why your brain needs its daily dose of eight hours of sleep without fail!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : June 14, 2017 10:07 AM IST

Changes in the lifestyle, erratic working hours, stress or excessive use of modern gadgets impact sound sleep, which puts you at high risk of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep, technically known as insomnia is one of the major health concerns in the current world. While it is known that lack of sleep impacts the body by increasing your risk of obesity, heart disease and lowering your immunity, it's effect on the brain is not much talked out. Dr Paritosh Baghell, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim, explains that lack of sleep impact the brain and body and can be caused by both psychiatric and medical conditions. Whatever is the cause of sleep deprivation, knowing its triggers and treating it is the key to lower the negative impacts on the brain. Here are a few sleep deprivation effects on the brain. Also read about 7 scientific reasons why lack of sleep can be bad for you.

1. Causes severe mood swings: Mood change is one of the symptoms which are directly related to anxiety, stress or depression. If you are not having a good night's sleep from quite a few days, it is wise to consult a doctor than ignore it as it can lead to anxiety, which if left unattended might turn severe impacting overall well-being.

2. Impairs performance: Sleep disorder also reduces the ability to focus which ultimately affects both personal and professional life. If you get eight hours of sleep at night, the level of alertness remains stable throughout the day. But if we have trouble sleeping for several days or suffer from sleep disorder, then sleep deficit starts building up, making it challenging for the brain to function. Here's how to know if you are sleeping well.

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3. Affects the memory and thinking process: Lack of sleep leads to memory loss and affects thinking process. Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory in two distinct ways. Firstly, lack of sleep impairs your attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem-solving ability, which makes it more difficult for your to learn efficiently. Secondly, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information.

4. Leads to psychiatric problems: Although the lack of sleep and problems related to sleep are quite common, it is under-reported. And this is the reason, why the implications of sleep disorder are often neglected. But it's time to deal with lack of sleep as in the long run it can lead to psychiatric problems such as disorientation, hallucinations & paranoia. Read about 10 things your brain and body goes through when you sleep.

Hence, good quality sleep and adequate amount of sleep are important for better cognitive performance and for avoiding health problems and psychiatric disorders.

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