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Current Affairs

Lack of sleep can affect body and brain

Date: 21 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A new study shows a direct link between sleep deprivation and brain and body temperature in rats.

 

Background

The coronavirus pandemic–induced lockdown has taken a toll on the sleep cycle of people across the globe. Several online surveys have shown that social media and unstructured work-time have altered millennial’s sleep-wake timings.

 

Details

  • Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. Although the core function of sleep is yet to be discovered, it serves many important functions which include, growth and repair, memory consolidation, energy conservation and boost immunity.

  • The experiments conducted in the lab revealed that not sleeping for 24 hours can increase the temperatures of the cortical and hypothalamus brain regions.

  • The cerebral cortex plays a key role in attention, awareness, and memory; while the hypothalamus has various roles: regulating body temperature, sleep-wake cycle, food intake, sexual behaviour, releasing hormones and regulating emotional responses.

  • Special temperature sensors were implanted into the brain and abdomen region of 10 adult male rats to monitor all the temperatures simultaneously at 15-second intervals.

  • During the sleep deprivation period the temperature of the body, hypothalamic and cortical region was found to increase significantly.

  • The recovery sleep was able to bring down the body and cortical temperature to the near-baseline value in about four hours.

  • However, the hypothalamic temperature remained higher than the baseline values throughout the 12 hours of recovery sleep.

  • This may be due to the fact that hypothalamus is the temperature regulating area of the brain.

  • Acute sleep deprivation has also been reported to affect the mood, memory skills and attention in humans. 

  • The team is currently studying the impact of sleep deprivation on neuromuscular changes to prove the point that muscles are also a beneficiary of sleep.