If you’re making this lifestyle mistake, and most Americans do, your home life may be killing your brain cells. And you may never get them back.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that skimping on sleep not only can fog the brain, it can actually lead to irreversible damage and mean death to the brain’s neurons.
“In general, we’ve always assumed full recovery of cognition following short- and long-term sleep loss,” says researcher Sigrid Veasey, M.D. “But some of the research in humans has shown that attention span and several other aspects of cognition may not normalize even with three days of recovery sleep, raising the question of lasting injury in the brain. We wanted to figure out exactly whether chronic sleep loss injures neurons, whether the injury is reversible, and which neurons are involved.”
Veasy’s lab study indicates that lack of sleep injures and kills the neurons you need to be alert and thinking properly.
The research also shows the importance of sleep for maintaining metabolic homeostasis in mitochondria (energy producing units) in neurons as well as potentially in other brain cells.
Veasey warns that sleep is one of the most important ways to keep your brain healthy: “No one really thought that the brain could be irreversibly injured from sleep loss.”