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Apparently, small sleep disorders have not hurt anyone yet. However, imagine how many road accidents were caused by drivers not getting enough sleep. You can see exactly how sleep is needed for the proper functioning of the brain and the entire body. Check what is the risk of a sleepless night.

Many people work or study late into the night. But do they really still have the mental capacity to continue working? Before you decide to study all night, catch up with work or watch the entire season of your favorite series, know that sleep disorders have an extremely negative impact on he alth on many levels.

Don't get too much sleep!

Scientists suggest that even mild sleep disturbances - 1 or 2 hours a day - reduce cognitive abilities, i.e. cognitive abilities. This especially applies to memory, focus, vigilance and the ability to solve tasks.

Researchers show that sleep deprivation disrupts the work of the medial frontal cortex, the visual cortex and the thalamus responsible for these problem-solving skills.

Inability to do mental work at night can also be dictated by the so-called microsleep (MS) - that is, a few seconds of loss of control. This is manifested by a temporary lack of control over some parts of the brain, while other parts of the brain continue to function.

This is a completely involuntary reflex that occurs suddenly. Often, it is only realized when the head is jerked suddenly. Statistically, it happens in 38 percent. adult people.

However, according to data from the National Sleep Foundation, as much as 60 percent. of drivers admit that they sometimes drive when exhausted. The more sleepy you are, the longer the MS moment can last (from several to even several dozen seconds).

It is a sufficient time to cause an accident on the road. Such people are also much more likely to become accident victims themselves, because their reflexes and vigilance are significantly lowered.

Worth knowing

You are sleepy but for some reason you are not giving in to this feeling? Are you trying with all your strength to maintain full awareness, not letting your brain shut off? The abdominal preoptic nucleus is responsible for thislateral hypothalamus (Ventrolateral preoptic (VLPO) nucleus).

This is a group of neurons located in the hypothalamus that are involved in regulating sleep and connecting to the amygdala responsible for emotions. These neurons influence the work of the hypothalamus, brain stem and thalamus, which are the big three responsible for the wakefulness system in the brain.

What is the risk of a sleepless night? Short-term memory disorder

Imagine the VLPO is similar to the On / Off button on your brain. While fighting to stay awake, you will most likely experience memory disorders, for example forgetting the previous activity you wanted to do.

With long hours of study it can be a significant difficulty. Imagine that you just got a great idea how to write a summary of your many hours of work, but something distracted your attention for a moment. Perhaps you dreamed about how soft your pillow is … The thought has escaped and you have to start looking for inspiration from the beginning.

This is because sleep deprivation severely disrupts short-term memory. You experience severe disruption in the coding and retrieval of information that has just happened. Just one sleepless night causes your memory center, an area of ​​your brain known as the hippocampus, to work less efficiently.

The hippocampus is also directly responsible for preserving information and transferring it to long-term memory. Therefore, if you study each night in the same state of sleeplessness, you will repeat the same tasks with identical results. Night after night, because the inefficient working hippocampus will not fix them permanently.

What Happens In The Brain After A Sleepless Night? Bad mood even on a sunny day

There is also irritation after a sleepless night. You will feel irritable, tired, shaky, maybe even a little confused. Stress resistance will drop.

The respondents show that this negative feeling is caused by a disturbance in the medial signaling of the frontal cortex and the amygdala. With prolonged wakefulness, the frontal cortex stops communicating properly with the emotional center in the amygdala.

Lack of this control, due to lack of sleep, will contribute to the fact that social functioning will be more and more difficult with each sleepless night.

Another study shows that sleep disorders cause the inability to recognize emotions - not only your own but also others. After a few late nights, the subjects could not correctly define the emotions on the faces shown to them. They did not distinguish the negative from the positive.

Sleep disordershave a negative effect not only on the brain

Sleep disorders have a negative effect on the entire body. An abnormal circadian rhythm and insufficient sleep contribute to an increase in blood pressure and more frequent heart contractions.

If you do not get enough sleep, you run a greater risk of developing heart and circulatory system diseases or neurological diseases.

A few late nights also weaken your immune system. A large part of the immune system is activated during sleep, especially at certain times.

In the evening, after dark, the pineal gland begins to pulsate the production of melatonin, which is designed to calm down and calm the body, preparing it for a long, regenerative sleep. Getting a few hours at night disrupts this cycle.

People with sleep disorders become more prone to infections. Recurrences of the disease may occur in people who previously struggled with fungal or viral infections. However, not everyone equates recurrent fungal lesions with stressful work and sleepless nights.

Worth knowing

How to get a proper and soothing sleep?

  • get up at the same hours every day
  • eat a tasty and nutritious breakfast
  • get out in the sun whenever you have the opportunity
  • during the day do not take naps longer than 20 minutes.
  • take care of a proper diet rich in micronutrients and vitamins
  • do not overeat, but also don't go hungry
  • try not to eat copiously during the second part of the day
  • exercise regularly
  • limit artificial light sources 2 hours before going to bed
About the authorMikołaj Choroszyński, nutritionist and gastrocoach Master of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Psycho-dietician, Youtuber. Author of the first book on the Polish market about a diet counteracting neurodegenerative diseases "MIND Diet. A Way for a Long Life". He fulfills himself professionally, running his Bdieta diet clinic, because nutrition has always been his passion. She helps her patients by telling them what to eat to stay he althy and look good.

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