If you’ve ever felt like you didn’t get enough sleep, you probably didn’t. Is going without sleep harmful? In a recent press release, Harvard Medical School announced that if you don’t get enough sleep, your emotions will suffer. The amount (or lack) that we get has a physical affect on our brain.
The prefrontal lobe of our brain typically keeps our emotions in check. When we get enough sleep, it acts normally. When we are sleep deprived, an actual chemical change takes place in our brain.
Researchers have discovered that the prefrontal area of our brain helps us regulate our emotions. When we are sleep deprived, this area of our brain According to recent research, the part of our brains that control our emotions acts differently when we are sleep deprived.
When we are operating with less than the optimum amount of sleep that we need, there’s an actual chemical reaction in our brains. The prefrontal lobe does not work properly and we loose our ability to control our emotions.
The researchers were not surprised to learn that our brains actually require sleep, they were surprised by the amount of change that occurred neurological when people were deprived of it.
Many people are already aware of the benefits of sleep. Our bodies need it to restore our energy and be rejuvenated. This study shows that our brain, like our bodies, needs sleep to be restored and rejuvenated as well, so that we can perform our best.
Their study found that the brain will react over 60 percent more when it is operating without adequate sleep, than how it operates with an adequate amount of sleep.
Additionally, sleep deprivation has been implicated as a contributing factor for people who are suffering from psychiatric disorders.
“While it is early days, clinical evidence has shown that some form of sleep disruption is present in almost all psychiatric disorders. These findings may offer new mechanisms as to why, and provide novel insights into how we can understand and even treat these disorders at a brain level,” said Walker.
We know we need sleep. Our bodies need sleep. Now we know that our brains need it, too.
How much is enough? Some people need lots, others are fine with just a little. There are times in our lives where it’s natural for our bodies to require far more sleep than others. Babies, toddlers, and teens all require it more than at any other time of their life.
While researchers couldn’t say how much sleep is “enough,” they can say that we’ll over react to things when we’re not getting adequate sleep.