Lack of sleep may shrink your brain

Lack of sleep may affect the size of your brain, according to a recent study published in the journal “Neurology.”

Aside from having lack of focus and being grumpy, sleep deprivation may have a more serious consequence, it may cause our brains to shrink, too. European researchers said that lack of sleep may further result to memory loss and dementia later in life.

The study was conducted among 147 adults between the age of 20 and 84 years old. Researchers observed what changes occurred in terms of their brain volumes within a period of 5 years. The results were correlated with their sleeping habits over the same period. Participants answered questionnaires about their sleeping patterns, and whether they had trouble sleeping or staying asleep.

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Results show that a third of the participants had chronic poor sleeping habits, and these same people showed shrinkage in terms on brain volume throughout the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes of the brain.

According to one of the authors of the study, Claire Sexton of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, “It is not yet known whether poor sleep quality is a cause or consequence of changes in brain structure.”

Dr. Neal Maru, a neurologist and sleep specialist, added that past studies have shown lack of sleep results to protein buildup in the brain, which attacks brain cells.

Improving one’s sleeping habits may prevent this from happening, along with other serious consequences like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Doctors say a good nightly routine may help in getting quality sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time regardless of weekends or holidays could aid in this routine. As much as possible, avoid using gadgets like tablets or mobile devices as these may distract you from your regular schedule of going to bed.

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