Sleep deprivation affects more than just your energy levels. Along with tiring you out, it can also impair your brain function. Your thinking processes and even your memory can deteriorate if you consistently don’t get enough sleep. Conversely, getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal brain function. In this article, we will explain how sleep affects your memory and brain function, and help you decide if your sleep complications warrant a sleep study.

How Sleep Affects Your Brain Function

A study by researchers at the University of Groningen (Netherlands) and The University of Pennsylvania shows that sleep loss can physically affect the brain. Their experiments found that sleep deprivation negatively affected the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, in rats. It also caused a reduction in the length and density of the dendrites of the neurons within the rats’ hippocampus.

The good news is that, when they allowed the rats to sleep undisturbed after a period of sleep-loss, the dendrites were able to reverse the losses, becoming similar to the dendrites of rats that got enough sleep.

A study showed on humans showed that both too little and too much sleep had negative impacts. Respondents who slept five or fewer hours per night and those who slept for nine or more hours, performed worse in brain tests than those who slept seven to eight hours a night. Undersleepers and oversleepers were mentally two years older than those who kept to the recommended amounts of sleep.

Other Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Impaired brain function and inability to form and retain memories are just a few of the many negative effects of sleep deprivation. Routinely not getting enough sleep can lead to daytime drowsiness, irritability, depression, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes among others.

Unfortunately, binge-sleeping isn’t a way out. You can recover sleep debt, but it has to be through long-term lifestyle changes. The secret is to ensure you get adequate amounts of sleep as often as possible. This will reverse many of the effects of sleep deprivation.

A Sleep Study at Jacksonville Sleep Center Could Help You Learn More

Do you frequently feel tired, or have difficulty remembering things? Do you wake up feeling like you hardly slept at all? Are you having a hard time keeping focused at work because you are tired? A sleep study could help you discover if you have a serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea.

It is best to find out as early as possible, so that treatments or interventions can be started before serious complications develop or worsen. The results discovered during a sleep study can be critical in figuring out the best course of treatment

Does the idea of a sleep study stress you out? Don’t worry! The study is done overnight and is unobtrusive, and preparing for a sleep study is simple. Call the Dream Team at Jacksonville Sleep Center today to schedule a sleep consultation and see if a sleep study is necessary for you.