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Brain Activity is Altered When Sleep is Deprived

The human brain, the most complex unit in the world, is severely affected when it is deprived of sleep.  When sleeping problems occur certain parts of the brain, such as the frontal lobe, performed less appropriately and saw more difficulties in functionality.  This statement shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone because when lack of sleep is apparent, the body functions completely differently. 

Think back a few years, or maybe several years, to when you were a kid in grammar school and were at a friend’s house for a weekend sleepover.  The “cool” thing to do as a kid was to try and stay awake for as long as the body would physically allow.  Personally, I remember staying up until about 9am the next morning and feeling awful for the remainder of the day.  This situation also rolls over into the high school and college years when late night parties are the social norm.  Also, crunching in the late night study time during finals week can bring on sleeping problems.  All of these sleep-depriving scenarios are only putting the human brain at risk for becoming dysfunctional.

When the brain is starving for sleep, it tends to take a longer time to react and judge situations and actions.  Motor skills are reduced while spur of the moment reactions also become less effective to perform.  A professor of psychology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario noted that students who studied hard all week and then stayed up all night partying on the weekend lost as much as 30% of what they had learned during the week.  As it turns out, crunching all of the studying into one week, then going out to party all night; translates into a poisonous mix for one’s GPA.

We strongly agree with Gary Kaufman of the Northern Indiana Center for Sleep Medicine and his excellent suggestions for getting a better sleeping outcome:

* Set a regular schedule to go to bed and get up.
* Allow enough time to sleep, usually about eight hours.
* Sleep in the same room and bed every night.
* Keep the bedroom free of noise and disruptions like phones and TV.
* Use the bed only for sleeping and sex.
* Turn your clock so you can’t see it. Watching the clock can keep you awake.
* Don’t eat, drink alcohol or smoke for two or three hours before you go to bed.
* Drink a glass of milk when you retire.
* Get some exercise earlier in the day.
* Try reading or listening to a relaxation tape at bedtime.
* If you wake up during the night, avoid bright lights.
* Avoid long daytime naps.

We have mentioned the importance of these steps multiple times in the past; this time is no less important.  It’s never good to deprive the brain of sleep because it increases the chances for accidents to occur.  Sleeping allows the brain to properly take on the challenges and surprises that may come during the next day.  The best road to take to avoid any unnecessary sleeping problems is to treat sleep the way it should be treated…….as a priority.

Ref Article: The Sleep Deprived Brain

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