Men's Fitness

Losing Sleep Might Damage Brain Tissue: Study

Researchers in Sweden studied 15 sleep-deprived men and found elevated levels of chemicals that typically increase in blood when brain damage occurs.

By Amy Kluber | January 5, 2014

Calling all workaholics and exam crammers: You should think twice about pulling another all-nighter because it could be damaging your brain.

"Researchers at a Swedish university found sleep deprivation increases the blood concentration of certain molecules that could lead to the loss of brain tissue."

The study suggests not sleeping for even just one night could affect brain tissue in a way similar to a head injury. (Via Los Angeles Times)

According to the study published in the journal Sleep, researchers studied 15 men and observed the levels of two chemicals called NSE and S-100B, which typically increase when brain damage occurs.

The levels of these chemicals were higher when the men were sleep-deprived than when they were fully rested. (Via The Huffington Post)

The researchers say that although the chemical levels were not as high as they would be after, say, a concussion, the findings still suggest lack of sleep could mean loss of brain tissue.

Prior research suggests sleep deprivation can cause impaired memory and motor functions. (Via Vanderbilt University)

But this study is more in line with research that observed how lack of sleep prevents the brain from clearing itself of toxins. (Via University of Rochester)

Professor Christian Benedict, who led the study, said this research could support studies that have linked sleep deprivation with increased risk of Alzheimers, Parkinsons and multiple sclerosis. 

He adds, "The findings of our trial indicate that a good night's sleep may be critical for maintaining brain health." (Via Daily Mail)

Now, we should note the study's authors say more research should be done. This particular study only looked at men, and with 15 participants, it was a small sample size, at that. 

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