Altered sleep patterns can lead to addiction and substance abuse. All these can make one more susceptible to cardiac ailments and strokes, said Dr Shobha N, consultant neurologist and stroke physician, Manipal Hospital, Malleshwaram, Bangalore
Lack of sleep not only affects your mood but also impacts your brain health, a new study indicates. A study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research, noted that a protective protein‘s level in the brain declines with sleep deprivation, leading to neuronal death. The mice study claimed that there was “neurological damage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory”.
As part of the research, the authors evaluated how well mice navigated a simple maze and learned to recognize new objects after having been sleep-deprived for two days. “They then extracted the proteins in the animals’ hippocampi and identified those whose abundance changed. Then, to further narrow the possibilities, they looked at data linking these proteins to maze performance in related strains of mice that had not experienced sleep deprivation,” it read.
Experts elucidate that sleep deprivation leads to various effects on brain functioning — some of them are short term and some of them are long-lasting. “Lack of sleep can lead to reduced attention and concentration. Memory consolidation happens in sleep, so storage and retrieval of memory are affected. Sleep loss can lead to impaired decision-making and lack of emotional control. Accidents can happen due to impaired judgment while driving,” said Dr Shobha N, consultant neurologist and stroke physician, Manipal Hospital, Malleshwaram, Bangalore.
Concurred Dr Kunal Bahrani, director, neurology, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad, and shared that sleep helps your brain store and organize information. “Sleep problems can also make you feel sad or worried. Not getting enough sleep can increase your chances of feeling depressed or anxious. Sleep is essential for keeping your emotions in check,” said Dr Bahrani.
According to Dr Shobha, the worsening of pre-existing neurologic conditions like migraine and epilepsy is known. “Shortage of sleep can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Long-term sleep deprivation can have physical consequences in addition. The person will be prone to chronic inflammatory neurologic and systemic diseases. It can lead to other chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and dyslipidemia. Altered sleep patterns can lead to addiction and substance abuse. All these can make one more susceptible to cardiac ailments and strokes,” noted Dr Shobha.
Neurologists have observed that during deep sleep, the brain performs essential functions, such as clearing out waste products and harmful proteins that accumulate throughout the day, said Dr Vinit Banga, associate director, neurology and head -Neurovascular Intervention Centre for Neuroscience, BLK Max Super Specialty Hospital. “Without proper sleep, this clearance process is impaired, potentially contributing to the development of neurodegenerative conditions,” said Dr Banga.
Sleep deficiency can cause neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Parkinson’s disease. In a nutshell, a dearth of sleep can have a bearing on neuronal plasticity and pave the way to various neurologic and systemic diseases, added Dr Shobha.
Your decision-making and problem-solving abilities can suffer, too. “When you’re sleep-deprived, you might make quick decisions without thinking much, and it can be hard to adapt to new situations,” added Dr Bahrani.
If you grapple with sleep deprivation, you must recognize the warning signs and seek assistance. “Several proactive steps can enhance sleep quality, such as establishing a consistent sleep schedule, cultivating a calming bedtime routine, and refraining from caffeine and alcohol before retiring,” said Dr Bhakti Gajjar, Neuro Physician, HCG Hospitals, Ahmedabad.