Losing Sleep? You Could Be Losing Brain Cells Too

Blog-Losing Sleep_You Could Be Losing Brain Cells Too

Chronic lack of sleep may be much more serious than we realize, leading to an irreversible loss of brain cells.

It is commonly thought that chronically sleep-deprived individuals, such as 3rd shift workers, could simply catch up on lost sleep, repaying one’s “sleep debt” without much long-term consequence.

In this study, researchers determined that extended wakefulness might result in losing or injuring neurons that are crucial for thinking and alertness.

Using a mouse model, the sleep researchers mimicked a typical shift worker’s sleep pattern, carefully examining the periods following normal rest, short wakefulness, and extended wakefulness.

During short wakefulness periods, the mitochondria – the energy-producing powerhouse within cells – was able to adapt and protect the cells from death by producing more sirtuin type 3 (SirT3) protein. The increased SirT3 production did not occur during periods of extended wakefulness.

After several days of sleep deprivation, the mice lost 25% of neurons essential for alertness and cognition.

Sleep Deprivation is Hazardous to Your Health

Healthy sleep is absolutely essential to a brain healthy life. Sleep rejuvenates all the cells in your body, gives brain cells a chance to repair themselves, helps wash away toxins that build up during the day, and activates neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity.

Skimping on sleep can affect your health in more ways than you might imagine. When you don’t get enough sleep, you have overall decreased blood flow to your brain, which disrupts thinking, memory, and concentration.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with many health risks, including:

• Type 2 diabetes
• Depression
• Anxiety
• ADD (worsening of symptoms)
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Stroke
• Psychosis
• Weight gain
• Poor lifestyle choices

We Can Help

We want to help you learn more about your brain and how to feel better fast. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.


  1. It’s nice your concerned over people getting enough sleep but what do you suggest for those of us with chronic insomnia with no known cause or disease factoring in. All the shrinks want to do is prescribe drugs. Some of us are stuck between not knowing if it’s better to lose sleep or take medication to help. Natural remedies don’t work either. Please write a blog for us. Yeah I know, you can’t give medical advice, I get it. But how about not causing fear that lack of sleep will cause irreparable brain damage. That’s not scientific or helpful.

    Comment by Kenneth Mckenna — February 12, 2018 @ 3:51 AM

  2. I agree with you–my husband has been trying to get a good night sleep, using all the things you’ve tried. Would like to know what is possible for insomniacs like both of you. I feel like my husband needs retraining in sleep. Where do you learn that?

    Comment by Susan Eason — February 12, 2018 @ 9:50 AM

  3. I agree with Kenneth we all know sleep is good for you but what to do if you have insomnia besides a pill would be helpful.

    Comment by Margee Zito — February 12, 2018 @ 3:19 PM

  4. Hello all, thank you for your comments!
    There are many contributing factors to habitual wakefulness. If you’re having problems turning off your brain at night or staying asleep, a good nutritional supplement can support your body’s natural relaxation response and produce a soothing, sedative effect. Look for supplements that contain vitamin B6, magnesium, GABA, valerian, and melatonin. These can help relax your body and mind.
    For more information, please see this page – https://amenclinics.com/conditions/sleep-disorders/. And feel free to call our clinic at 888-288-9834, we have several physicians that are specialists in sleep medicine.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 12, 2018 @ 4:42 PM

  5. I have had good results in falling asleep by drinking “Get Some ZZZ’s herbal tea by “Be Well Teas.” I fall asleep within ten minutes by drinking this tea rather than tossing and turning for an hour or more. This tea is making a positive change in my ability to fall asleep gently and sleep through the night.

    Comment by Susan Gorman, M.A., SEP — February 12, 2018 @ 7:03 PM

  6. I am 66 years old. Some things that have helped me include: Orienting the head of my bed to the North, seriously. Avoid chocolate as well as alcohol, coffee, tea, and tobacco. Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepy Time Tea without sweetener. Don’t have carbs with my evening meal. If I do, or have a sweet or starchy snack before bed, I will be wide awake within 4-5 hours. Don’t watch TV just before bed, or use a smart phone. That blue light really wakes our brains. Exercise earlier in the day and get fresh air and enough sunlight. Take calcium/magnesium/other minerals just before bedtime. Establish a routine for bedtime as we did for our children so our bodies and minds get in the habit. Read something deep (scriptures work for me) as opposed to adventure or mystery, for a few minutes; the right/left motion of the eyes definitely calms the mind. After all this, and prayer, a dozen deep, slow breaths and I am out for the night.
    If you are anxious about all you must do tomorrow, make a written list and “let it go”. Counting blessings helps as well.

    Comment by Deborah Rhodes — February 13, 2018 @ 12:04 PM

  7. Thanks for all the good tips Deborah. I follow most of those. I do believe in my DVD Yoga for Insomnia, deep breathing, prayer and getting fresh air/sun . Recently, I’ve heard you have to have energy to sleep well. Sounds crazy but I think getting to bed by 10pm, exercising, taking extra Vit C, and wearing Dave Asprey’s night goggles to block blue light help. The health of your gut and EMF’s may also be a huge factor. It’s challenging, but we have to stay focused on what works for us. I’m not sure about how many carbs to have before bed. Dr. Christianson is a believer in carbs before bed to prevent from waking up to early.

    Good luck and God’s blessings to all my fellow insomniacs.

    Comment by Wanda Snow — February 15, 2018 @ 6:50 AM

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