Sleep Loss And Its Effects On The Brain

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Emotions are also affected, so mood swings and a short temper are more likely. Other negative effects include forgetfulness, hallucinations, impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts (Pietrangelo). A study conducted with rats demonstrated that after a week of sleep loss the rats’ brains became less sensitive to serotonin, which could make rats and people more prone to developing depression. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that balances moods. And even after letting the rats sleep in on the weekend, their brains still didn’t respond as effectively to serotonin as before sleep deprivation (Saey 32). Sleep-loss ultimately altered brain function. Sleeping too little for too long alters the physical body and the mind. Sleep deprivation also leaves the body vulnerable to illness. If it continues long enough, it can lower your body’s defenses and increase the risk of developing an illness. When you’re sleeping, your immune system produces protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies and cells which are used to fight off foreign substances like bacteria and viruses (Pietrangelo). Cytokines and other protective substances also help you sleep and give the immune system more energy to defend against illness such as respiratory problems like the common cold and flu. A lack of sleep means the immune system isn’t able to build up its defenses, and it’s more likely that your body won’t be able to fend off invaders. It may also take you longer to recover from an illness. A lack of sleep is harmful not only to yourself, but to those around you as well. One side effect of sleep deprivation is micro-sleep. Micro-sleep is when you’re asleep for only a few seconds or a few minutes but don’t realize it. If you’re ... ... middle of paper ... ...shing your hands and being precautious about germs and bacteria, knowing that your immune system is weak, can help prevent you from contracting an illness that would further damage your health. Also, since weight gain is a large factor in lack of sleep that is tied to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that harm your body, one can be more mindful about the food and drink they consume. Our body naturally reaches for the sugary and high in fat food, but instead knowing that this is harmful and choosing healthier options can greatly reduce the negative effects. And while one night of missed sleep won’t carry the long-term negative health effects, but it can prove deadly from cognitive impairment. However night after night of sleep deprivation will carry the long term health effects and make for an overall reduction in quality of life and reduction in life expectancy.
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