Sleep deprivation not only makes you feel terrible, but research has shown that it also affects your brain. Long-term sleep deprivation increases the risk of acquiring neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Researchers are attempting to determine how a lack of sleep causes this damage. A team employing mice uncovered a protective protein whose level falls with sleep deprivation resulting in neuronal death in a recent study published in the Journal of Proteome Research of the American Chemical Society. Studies indicate that lack of sleep leads to neurological damage in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning and memory. To better understand the changes responsible for this effect, scientists have begun examining shifts in the abundance of proteins and RNA, which contains genetically encoded instructions derived from DNA.