What Does Sleep Deprivation Do To The Brain?

If you feel slow after a sleepless night, you aren’t alone. Chances are your brain cells feel slow too. A lack of sleep makes it hard for cells to communicate properly which can result in everything from memory lapses to poorer decision making.

Think that you can run on little to no sleep? Not so fast! Research is starting to unveil the effects that sleep deprivation actually has on your brain function. Here are 5 ways that not getting enough sleep can impact your mental game.

  1. You won’t be able to focus.

One of the most obvious effects of a poor night’s sleep is the inability to focus. You become distracted making it hard to achieve your optimal productivity.

Research shows that 75% of people with ADHD also have sleep problems. So, for individuals who already struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this is a real problem.

  1. You’ll be in a worse mood.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect your mental focus, it also plays a role in your hormone regulation. If you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to manage stress decreases and may become more reactive to stressors you could normally handle. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself cranky or emotionally out of whack if you are in a sleep deficit!

  1. You will have a slower reaction time.

All it takes is 19 hours of sleep before your accuracy and speed in reference to reaction times are impaired. So much so that your ability to react matches that of someone who is legally drunk. This is because your neural cells aren’t able to digest visual information like they could if they were well rested. They’re tired too!

  1. It will be difficult to make and store memories.

New research is now connecting a lack of sleep in your middle age to poor cognitive health in your older age. In short, there’s a connection between sleep problems, such as insomnia, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Sleep is a vital part of acquiring memories, storing them, and then recalling them later. Without it, you’ll have trouble doing each of those things.

  1. Your ability to make decisions will be impaired.

Your prefrontal cortex is the area of the brain that handles any decision making. If you don’t get enough sleep, your prefrontal cortex suffers greatly. The result? Impulsive decisions. Especially when it comes to financial decisions. And, according to research, the chances of you engaging in risky behavior increases as well.

How to Get Better Sleep

If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation it is vital that you figure out how to get better sleep. Some ways to do this include: setting a bedtime, winding down before bed, turning off all screens, avoiding naps, and adding in exercise. Once you are getting regular sleep, you’ll notice that the symptoms of sleep deprivation like the inability to focus, handle stress, react quickly, remember information, and make decisions will improve!

Need help getting on track? Brain Forest Centers is a Fishers, IN-based neurofeedback center that has helped people of all ages get better sleep. Give us a call at (317) 288-9828 to schedule your FREE consultation!