Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

Study says losing sleep can lead to brain damage

See also

If you suffer from a sleepless night there's really no way you can make up those lost hours of sleep. But sleep isn't the only thing you lose. A new study warns you are losing brain cells too.

Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience Tuesday claims that chronic sleep loss can lead to a permanent loss of brain cells.

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studied lab mice while rotating them through periods of rest, short and extended wakefulness, in an attempt to mimic the day-to-day sleep patterns of shift workers. After three days of the study, the researchers found that the mice underwent an increased death of brain cells and lost 25 percent of the neurons essential for “alertness and optimal cognition." The study says this same result could happen in humans.

Dr. Sigrid Veasey, associate professor of Medicine at UPenn and part of the research team says, “In general, we’ve always assumed full recovery of cognition following short- and long-term sleep loss. But some of the research in humans has shown that attention span and several other aspects of cognition may not normalize even with three days of recovery sleep, raising the question of lasting injury in the brain.”

Of course more research will be done to determine if humans are susceptible to the observed brain damage through extended periods of wakefulness, and if brain damage could be linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.



  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    9 Photos