Your Brain on Sleep Deprivation

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We've all heard that eight hours of sleep per night rule but this report isn't going to write itself and besides, a little sleep deprivation never hurt anybody. Wha-ho! Whoa. Okay, so wow! Okay, that is not good. I'm Shannon and I'm a Ph.D. neuroscience candidate and this is your brain on sleep deprivation. Though I may stay up late to finish a big paper do I actually have the mental ability to think coherently while sleep deprived? (laughs) Science suggests that sleep deprivation majorly reduces cognitive performance, especially memory, being alert, paying attention, performing tasks, and memory.

After sleep deprive– how should I say it? How do humans say this line? During sleep deprivation, fMRI studies show periods of decreased activation in the medial frontal cortex, visual sensory cortex, and thalamic regions while trying to perform a task. My inability to finish this paper may also be due to the phenomenon is known as microsleeps. These are involuntary, momentary, sleep-like states of unconsciousness which occur for a few seconds while sleep deprived You may note it as… You may know it as nodding off when you're trying to stay awake and it's a regular occurrence for 38% of adults, the more sleep deprived you are, the longer these microsleeps may last until you are involuntarily pushed into a full-on sleep.

I don't know. It sounds kind of nice right now. When I'm tired but I decide that it's more important to stay awake then to fall asleep I'm actively preventing my brain from recharging. The brain carefully coordinates sleeping and waking in multiple regions led by the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus or the VLPO, for short. It's a group of neurons located in the hypothalamus. This cluster of neurons is inhibitory and projected different nuclei of the hypothalamus, the brain stem, and the thalamus a.k.a the big players in your awake system. I don't know… You can think of the VLPO as kind of like the off switch of your brain and right now, I'm in an intense battle with my body to keep that switch from flipping into sleep mode. And while my sleep-deprived brain can't pay attention to my paper, I'm also having a hard time remembering what exactly I'm supposed to be writing about.

Sleep? Sleep deprivation seriously affects short-term memory and your ability to encode and retain episodic memories. In fact, just a single night of sleep deprivation has been shown to result in lower activation of your hippocampus a.k.a. your memory epicenter. Sleep-deprived subjects with lower hippocampal activity were then worse at retaining these memories. I'm sorry, what are we talking about again? I– Sleep or puppies? Alcohol, no. Maybe we could just take a break for a couple of minutes. As you may notice, I'm a little bit irritated. Science calls this an increase in negative mood states a.k.a. I feel grumpy, tired, pissed, and maybe even a little bit confused.

One study found that this general bad feeling may be due to the dysregulation of connectivity between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex after sleep loss. This study suggests that after a normal rested state, your prefrontal cortex has top-down control over your emotional center: the amygdala. So after sleep deprivation, the prefrontal cortex loses its control over the brash pre-teen which is your amygdala. Hence, making me a nightmare to work with. Didn't you get that take? Didn't you get it? No, I don't want to do it again. No, I think it did it perfectly. Sleep deprivation not only makes me angry, but it also convinces me that everyone else is mad at me.

One lab found that after sleep deprivation, subjects were unable to discriminate between angry and friendly faces and were more likely to read faces as threatening. Would you please get that boom out of my face, Justin? – Sorry. – Are you mad at me? Forget about this. You seem mad. You seem mad. Aside from the messed up things sleep deprivation does to your brain, missing a full night of sleep has some major consequences for the rest of your body. Sleep deprivation can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. And those who are sleep deprived are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. So while it may seem like a good idea to pull an all-nighter studying for that final or trying to binge-watch a season of 24 in real-time, prolonged sleep deprivation is seriously detrimental to your health and it's thought to eventually cause death. Forbes Magazine thinks that it's costing America 400 billion dollars a year and I can personally testify to the fact that I'm mad and I've gotten nothing done on this paper. On that note, I think it's time for me to check out.

Good night. You guys can leave now. Just turn the lights off when you go. Bye. That's how I feel.