Published: Wed, November 08, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Sleepless Night Leaves Some Brain Cells As Sluggish As You Feel

Sleepless Night Leaves Some Brain Cells As Sluggish As You Feel

A reflection was obtained as to how the brain cells have become sluggish and how slower the brain is functioning due to lack of sleep after concluding this test. The resulting cognitive lapses in turn affect how one perceives and reacts to their surroundings.

For research purposes, Fried and his team asked each participant to categorize a variety of images as quickly as possible.

Sleep and Brain activity are inter-related to each other.

"We were fascinated to observe how sleep deprivation dampened brain cell activity", said Yuval Nir from Tel-Aviv University. It turns out, sleep deprivation can disrupt brain cells' abilities to communicate with each other, similar to the effects of drinking too much alcohol. While the patients answer, the electrodes record the activity of as much as 1,500 brain cells. Fried also said that too many doctors are sleep deprived working for long hours and that too impairs judgment and efficacy.

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The neurons unlike regularly responded very slowly and appeared to be very weak.

Particular attention was paid to the neurons in the temporal lobe, where visual perception and visual memory are managed.

The scans suggested a lack of sleep was interfering with the neurons' ability to translate what was being seen into coherent thoughts, in the same way that a exhausted driver takes a moment to react to a pedestrian stepping out into the road.

Dr. Nir says that this same phenomenon can make a sleepy driver sluggish in reacting to a stimulus - such as a pedestrian stepping in front of the auto. When drivers are exhausted, for example, their attention wanders because the neurons aren't responding as efficiently as they should.

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The scientists cited some existing research that detailed some potentially catastrophic effects of sleep deprivation. This could raise concerns over exhausted commuters driving into work after failing to get enough sleep, should someone cross the road in front of them. It takes longer for his brain to register what he's perceiving'.

Scientists saw one more phenomenon alongside hampered brain activity: slower sleep-like brain waves, which Fried said suggest parts of a exhausted brain may rest even as other parts remain active.

It was also found that brain cells that took longer to respond were associated with slower brain waves - such as those normally registered during sleep phases - and that this slow-motion activity was located in the same brain regions. "This phenomenon suggests that select regions of the patients' brains were dozing, causing mental lapses, while the rest of the brain was awake and running as usual". He believes that there should be legal and medical standards in place to identify tired drivers on the road.

The scientists note that future studies should aim to target the brain mechanisms responsible for memory and perception lapses, as well as foreground the benefits of a good night's sleep.

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