Startling new research points to brain tissue loss as a result of lack of sleep. In fact, the study suggests not sleeping for even just one night could affect brain tissue in a way similar to a head injury.
The research, conducted at Uppsala University in Sweden and published in the journal Sleep, surveyed a group of young men who were deprived of sleep for one night. When the subjects’ blood was tested the team found increased concentrations of NSE and S-100B, molecules typically found in the brain. Those molecules are typically found in higher concentration under conditions of brain damage.
The research team says further research should be done to determine whether the discrepancies are due to brain cell damage, blood-brain barrier damage, or are “just a consequence of increased gene expression in non-neuronal cells, such as leukocytes.”