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Chronic Sleep Deprivation’s Effects on Cognitive Function

Sleeping woman

My sleep is OK!

How much sleep are you getting every night?

It turns out skimping on sleep, like getting only 6 hours or less a night, can mess with your brain almost as badly as pulling an all-nighter. Even a little bit of sleep loss can really throw off your game during the day, making it tough to stay sharp. The worst part? Most people don’t even realize they’re slipping— like being a frog in slowly boiling water, not noticing it’s getting cooked. And, while your body tries to adapt to less sleep, your brain’s still paying a hefty price. It’s like running a debt on your brain’s energy bill; the more you cut sleep, the more you owe, making each extra awake hour harder than the last. Catching enough Z’s is more important than you might think!

Chronic sleep deprivation can have significant effects on cognitive function. Short-term impacts include reduced attention span, poor memory consolidation, impaired judgment, and diminished emotional capacity.

Long-term consequences may lead to cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease due to disrupted memory consolidation and brain housekeeping processes.

Sleep deprivation can also impair learning, memory, reaction time, and decision-making abilities, similar to the effects of being drunk.

Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation universally affects daytime performance, mood, cognitive functions like attention and working memory, and motor skills due to increased sleep propensity and destabilization of wakefulness.

Additionally, sleep deprivation has been linked to decreased cognitive performance, altered cerebral blood flow, and reduced neurovascular coupling-related hemodynamic responses.
Overall, chronic sleep deprivation not only impacts immediate cognitive abilities but also poses risks for long-term cognitive health.

Additional Reading

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DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional. 

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