What Happens to Your Brain When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

What Happens to Your Brain When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

“My brain is fried.” We have all, no doubt, both heard and uttered that phrase many times throughout our lives. Sleep deprivation is not a new phenomenon. Absolutely everybody has at least a few stories about being so exhausted and unable to function. Like that time you put the milk away in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge, or the time you called your friend freaking out about how you couldn’t find your phone anywhere. Yeah, we’ve all been there. It’s no secret that fatigue impacts how efficiently our brains function, but what exactly happens to your brain when you miss out on sleep?

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that insufficient sleep is a public health problem, so it makes perfect sense that a lot of scientists are striving to find out what actually happens to our brains when we run on empty for just a little too long. 

Several different issues have already been associated with chronic fatigue like depression and obesity. The seemingly tiny fatigue-related issues are the ones that actually have the greatest effect. A survey of adults aged 21 and up was conducted from 2005 to 2006, and 2007 to 2008. The survey revealed that 23 percent of adults said concentrating on things was the biggest sleep-related difficulty. An additional 18.2 percent stated that remembering things was their biggest difficulty, and 8.6 percent claimed that their performance at work suffered the most. 

All of these tasks we just mentioned are best performed when your brain is fully functioning. So even though your little grey cells are not technically frying, there are a few things that are going on upstairs while you’re lying awake wondering how people gave directions before somebody came up with ‘right’ and ‘left.’

Brain Cells Die

What Happens to Your Brain When You Don't Get Enough Sleep

A study that was published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that the brain cells in mice that were made to stay awake were destroyed. The same thing can occur in humans, possibly onsetting irreversible brain damage.

Cognitive Throughput Slows Down

Your cognitive throughput is the speed at which your brain processes data. The more tired someone is, the more severely impacted their cognitive responses will be, usually without the person even realizing that they’re getting steadily worse.

Your Brain Creates False Memories

When you are sleep deprived it is difficult for your brain to process what you are seeing and hearing. It is even more difficult for your memory to retain the information. When you have not had enough sleep, your brain can omit or even mix up details of an event that has now become part of your memory. The only problem is that your memory of the event is false.

Your Brain Loses Its Filter

Researchers have discovered that sleep impacts your visual working memory. One function of VWM is the capacity to weed out any irrelevant or unnecessary information. This allows your brain to focus solely on what it needs to help you complete the task at hand. Without this filter, your brain becomes jumbled or foggy. You can find yourself easily distressed and uncertain of what needs to be done or how to do it in order to complete the task at hand. 

Driving while you are overly tired can be extremely hazardous. It has been demonstrated that operating a motor vehicle with an inadequate amount of sleep under your belt has a very similar effect on your capacity to function and think as imbibing a judicious quantity of alcohol. Going without sleep for 18 consecutive hours is the equivalent of drinking yourself into a blood alcohol level of .05 percent. Remember, the blood alcohol content where you are deemed to be too drunk to legally drive in almost every state is only .08 percent. 

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury from being involved in a car crash in which you were not the negligent driver, then New Jersey has statutes in place that were created specifically to help you receive the full amount of restitution that you are owed by the other driver. 

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, then you need to retain the legal services of a licensed, qualified personal injury attorney just as soon as you are able. Here at Metro Law, we are able to help you fight for the financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering to which you are entitled under New York law. Please reach out to us by calling (800) 469-6476 and speaking with one of our attorneys regarding a personal injury case you feel you may have. Schedule an appointment for your free consultation with us today.