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Skipping Sleep Can Harm Your Brain

Lack of sleep may cause the brain to stop producing new cells.

A study on rats showed that lack of sleep caused a stress hormone to affect the hippocampus, a brain region involved in forming memories.

Rats who were deprived of sleep for seventy-two hours had higher levels of the stress hormone corticosterone. As a result, they produced significantly fewer new brain cells in a region of the hippocampus.

When corticosterone levels were kept at a constant level, the hippocampus produced a normal amount of new cells. After the animals were restored to normal sleep patterns, it took two weeks for nerve cell production levels to normalize.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences December 12, 2006; 103(50): 19170-19175

Psych Central February 12, 2007

BBC News February 10, 2007

P.S. Sleeping well at night is essential to brain health and more.

To see how to get a good night's rest, Click Here.