Why sleep deprivation is worse than a hangover

08 November, 2017, 01:29 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Brain cells fire more slowly and stop encoding memories efficiently UCLA found
Credit
UCLA

Ever wonder what's going on in your brain after a night without much sleep?

"But it has been hard to determine precisely how sleep deprivation influences neural activity within the human brain owing to the invasive techniques required to record neural activity".

The neural lapse - or slowdown - affects the brain's visual perception and memory associations.

"We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly", said study author and neurgsurgical specialist Itzhak Fried. "This leads to cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us", the professor of neurosurgery added.

Fried and his colleagues observed 12 people preparing to receive surgery in UCLA to treat epilepsy.

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Fried led an global team in studying 12 UCLA epileptic patients who had electrodes implanted in their brains in order to pinpoint the origin of their seizures prior to surgery.

The team asked these patients to categorize a number of images as fast as they could. "Most of the brain was up and running, but temporal lobe neurons happened to be in slumber, and lapses subsequently followed". There is a noted slowdown in response and reaction times because the brain cells are firing slowly, particularly within the temporal lobe. In these patients, Freud said "the neurons are responding slower". Sleep deprivation interfered with the neurons' ability to process information, encode it, and then translate the visual stimulus into conscious thought.

"Inadequate sleep exerts a similar influence on our brain as drinking too much", said Fried. Thus, nedospaty the man behind the wheel of a vehicle may simply not notice the pedestrian in front.

When you don't get enough sleep, parts of your brain are going to take catnaps the next day, even while you're ostensibly up and awake, a new study suggests.

In a second finding, the researchers discovered that slower brain waves accompanied sluggish cellular activity in the same regions of the patients' brains. The electrodes recorded the firing of a total of almost 1,500 brain cells (from all of the participants combined) as the patients responded, and the scientists paid particular attention to neurons in the temporal lobe, which regulates visual perception and memory. They found that sleep deprivation leads to slower and weaker bursts of electrical activity in the nerves. He claims that severe fatigue causes brain changes similar to the effects of alcohol consumption. Yet no legal or medical standards exist for identifying overtired drivers on the road the same way we target drunk drivers'. It found that taking getting behind the wheel while sleep-deprived could be just as risky as driving while intoxicated.

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