Having recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea, I understand all too well the importance of getting enough quality sleep and how awful it feels when you don’t.
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your health, but for many people, getting it as an uphill battle. I can’t tell you the last time that I felt well-rested. Every single day, I deal with chronic fatigue.
And I’m certainly not alone. Everything from anxiety and depression to chronic insomnia can put a wrench in your pleasant dream plans. Chances are if you suffer from any of these conditions, you’re familiar with the effects of sleep deprivation. As a new study reveals, severe sleep deprivation doesn’t just make getting through the work day harder. It can actually cause your brain to eat itself.
A study printed in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that the brain cells tasked with digesting cellular debris can go into overdrive when deprived of sleep and as a result, they can cause the brain to feed on itself.
These cells, known as microglia, are responsible for ingesting the waste products produced by the nervous system.
But microglia cells aren’t the only active cells in the brain. Astrocytes are the multitaskers of the ol’ noggin. Among other things, they sift through unnecessary synapses to help rewire the brain.