This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Don't Rest

When you don't rest, it's normal to struggle to remember, be in a good mood, or concentrate. Also, some studies link lack of sleep to illnesses like obesity,. diabetes, and Alzheimer's.
This Is What Happens to Your Brain When You Don't Rest

Last update: 07 May, 2021

You may have noticed that not getting enough rest can affect every aspect of your life. Especially when this situation lasts for a while and you don’t sleep properly for days.

Until recently, scientists didn’t really know the true function of sleep. It wasn’t clear why we need to sleep when, on doing it, we enter into a physically vulnerable state. However, over the years many studies have demonstrated the functions of rest.

Today, we know that without sleep, we’ll die in a few days. In fact, a lot sooner than we would without food. This is because when you don’t rest, your affective system, concentration, and even your immune system weaken.

Specialists have been studying the havoc that a lack of sleep can cause for the entire body. In this article, we’ll explain what happens to your brain when you don’t rest.

What happens in the brain when you don’t rest?

We’ve all heard that we need to sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day. Also, people tend to say that it should be good quality sleep. This is because when you don’t rest, all parts of your body suffer, especially the brain.

Multiple studies show that when you don’t sleep enough for several consecutive days, hundreds of brain cells die. In fact, specialists are starting to link lack of sleep with illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, it seems that rest is also directly related to the size of a person’s brain. By that, we mean that specialists have noticed that certain parts of this organ are smaller in the people who don’t get a lot of sleep on average.

Brain dramatized picture.
The brain needs adequate rest to work correctly.

What functions in your brain change when you don’t get enough sleep?

When you don’t rest, in addition to suffering structural changes in your brain, many other functions also change. First of all, it’s important to mention that your mood is usually affected. People that are continuously tired tend to have a more negative outlook on life.

In addition to this, you’re likely to become more irritable. It’s also normal for a lack of sleep to affect your creativity and wit. When you don’t rest, you usually notice you’re a bit “slower” when it comes to thinking and reasoning. The same happens to your levels of concentration.

Also, it’s important to know that your memory will be notably affected. Retaining information becomes a lot more complicated when you don’t get enough sleep. In fact, your memories may even become disrupted. And lastly, after prolonged insomnia, some people experience hallucinations.

Brain when asleep.
If the brain doesn’t rest enough, you may become irritable and find that your creative processes are affected.

What else happens to your body when you don’t sleep?

It’s clear that when you don’t rest, the damage your central nervous system sustains can be irreversible. But, your brain isn’t the only organ that a lack of sleep can damage. There are many illnesses that specialists link to insufficient sleep.

For example, specialists closely link certain metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes to a lack of sleep. In a similar vein, anxiety and depression are also intimately linked.

Bouts of insomnia can even harm fertility and the immune system. For these reasons, it’s important to look after your sleeping habits.

It’s true that some people need more sleep than others. However, scientists recommend that adults sleep between 7 and 8 hours a day. Also, it’s vital that you reach the deep sleep phase so that the rest you get is truly healing. If you have problems when it comes to sleeping, you should contact a specialist.

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