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Lack of Sleep May Effect Brain For Longer Than Thought

The brain needs uninterrupted sleep cycles to absorb fresh skills, form key memories, and repair the body from the day's wear and tear.  Chronic shortage of sleep can impact the ability to pay attention, learn new things, solve problems, and make decisions. A new study has found that it may take more than a week to recover from 10 days of sleep shortage.

Nineteen people in their twenties participated in the study. The study lasted for 21 consecutive days and divided into 3 parts. The first consisted of 4 days of unrestricted sleep. The second consisted of 10-day period of 30% reduction in normal sleep times. The third consisted of 7 days of unrestricted sleep recovery.

The researchers monitored time and duration of sleep time using an actigraphy. Cognitive information processing was evaluated every day of the study period. The researchers specifically looked at accuracy and reaction times.

Performance on the accuracy and reaction times tests declined significantly during the sleep restriction phase of the study. Following the week of unrestricted sleep recovery, accuracy and reaction time performance had not returned to the pre-sleep restriction level.

The study was conducted by researchers from Jagiellonian University. It was published on September 1, 2021 in the journal PLOS ONE.

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