It's one of my favorite things to do when I'm not awake.
After a good night's rest, I feel happy, energized, ready to take on my day!
But over the last few years, I have had very little sleep … For one reason or another.
Weird things started happening.
Felt more tired … more exhausted …
I expressed lack of interest in things that used to give me joy …
Didn't really want to be around a whole bunch of people too often for too long …
It came to a point where I felt maybe I was depressed … Maybe something was wrong.
Have you ever felt this way?
Maybe it's because you're not getting enough sleep!
I've made a few posts about this before:
- Listen To Your Body
- Stop Depriving Yourself! You need this NOW!
- 10 Signs You Might Be Sleep Deprived
- How Does Sleep Affect Your Face?
But I recently came across this article and infographic that I felt really explains a WHOLE LOT about some things … (like memory loss or altered memories) … So I wanted to share with you to impress upon you how important it is to get a full 7-8 hours of sleep.
This Is What Happens To Your Brain When You Don't Sleep
The hippocampus (a moon shaped structure in the temporal lobe) exhibits a distinct pattern of neural activity when the waking mind encodes (learns) new information.
Scientists believe our brain later “replays” the same activity pattern while we're sleeping to help the info stick.
So basically? Lose sleep and lose long-term memories.
Sleep loss primes us to focus on negative experiences, misinterpret facial expressions, and even pick fights.
Emotional volatility may partly be a product of interrupted communication between brain regions. FMRI of the well-rested brain shows connectivity between the amygdala (a limbic system structure critical to emotional processing) and the medial prefrontal cortex (which helps regulate feelings).
Sleep deprivation cuts this connection, letting your revved up amygdala (and your mood) run wild.
Skimp on sleep? Then the clever commentary may not flow so easily.
Sleep loss affects cognitive processes like divergent thinking, which helps us switch topics nimbly during conversation.
Scientists found that activity in the inferior frontal gyrus increases when sleep-deprived people tried to list uses for different objects, suggesting the brain draws on divergent thinking to compensate for strained cognitive functioning.
The well-rested brain filters stimuli (noise, light, smell, etc) to separate what matters from what doesn't and prevent sensory overload.
When the brain can't filter the information coming in, chaos ensues!
After pulling an all-nighter, people may begin to anticipate things that aren't there, including objects.
Head in the Clouds
We all lose focus from time to time, but brain activity linked to attention lapses changes when people sacrifice sleep.
After a good night's rest, these lapses correspond to altered thalamus function and less-active frontal and parietal networks — which basically means we tune out when we're bored.
But when sleep-deprived people space out, they also exhibit impaired visual sensory processing, suggesting a whole other level of disengagement with the world.
Losing sleeps turns you into Phoebe from friends. (My boyfriend would probably really agree with this one.)
One study found that people are more likely to incorporate misinformation into memories of events observed after a night without sleep.
One study shows that healthy adults getting poor sleep lose volume in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes.
Researchers don't yet understand if sleep loss causes shrinkage or vice versa.
The temporal lobe (brain region associated with language processing) is highly active in well-rested people …
But inactive in their exhausted and enunciation-challenged counterparts.
Together? These neural changes create a brain mechanism that dulls judgement and ratchets up desire – the ideal mind state for scarfing down fistfuls of bacon.
When sleep deprived people prepare to make economic decisions, the brain's reward center in the prefrontal cortex lights up, suggesting they expect to win (e.g. make money).
But when risky choices don't pan out, people's brain activity decreases in the region related to punishment and aversion (the anterior insula) suggesting they don't care about losing money as much as they would on a good night's sleep.
Add all-nighters to the list of things that kills brain cells — in this case? The brain stem!
The damage may be irreparable, making “catch up on lost sleep” a poor excuse for snoozing until noon on the weekends.
Please note that all of this information comes from reputable, scientific entities as outlined in the infographic.
So you can believe you're “getting enough sleep/rest” at only 4-5 hours a night …
But science says otherwise.