Sleep deprivation can make you older
Sleep Deprivation: Staying awake for one night can cause the brain to age by one to two years.
A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience reveals that staying awake for one night can cause the brain to age by one to two years.
Effects of sleep deprivation can be reversed
However, the research conducted by an international team of scientists from RWTH Aachen University in Germany also showed that the effects of sleep deprivation can be reversed after a good night’s sleep. No significant change in brain age was observed after partial sleep deprivation.
Sleep loss affects human brain
According to Eva-Maria Elmenhorst from the university, the study provides new evidence explaining how sleep loss affects the human brain in an aging-like direction.
The team used MRI data of 134 healthy volunteers between 19 and 39 years old to investigate whether sleep loss would cause age-related changes in the brain. The study found that brain age was not significantly affected by either acute or chronic partial sleep restriction.
In the case of total sleep deprivation (of more than 24 hours of prolonged wakefulness), they consistently observed that total sleep deprivation increased brain age by one-two years.
Interestingly, after one night of recovery sleep, brain age was not different from baseline, the team explained.
Further, the study found that brain age was not significantly changed by either acute (3 hours’ time-in-bed for 1 night) or chronic partial sleep restriction (5 hours’ time-in-bed for 5 continuous nights).