How a lack of sleep affects the brain

Theresa Fisher
Editor, Brain.Mic
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If you yawn during the day, conk out as soon as your head hits the pillow or re-read this sentence a few times to absorb its meaning, here’s some bad news: You need more sleep.

Scientists still don’t know exactly why we sleep, but according to a near-constant stream of research, most of us need between six and eight hours of shut-eye each night. Unfortunately, only about 30% of us are getting it. That means 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, a certified public health epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleep deprivation takes an enormous toll on our bodies, including bloodshot eyes, increased blood pressure and a fuller waistline. But what’s equally alarming is the negative impact of sleep deprivation on the brain.

This infographic explains what happens to your brain, and what it means for you, when you don’t get enough sleep:

Links to infographic resources: The Journal of NeuroscienceInternational Scholarly Research Notes,Experimental Brain ResearchPsychological BulletinUC Berkeley Walker Sleep LabPNASInternational Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental HealthCDCThe Journal of NeuroscienceSLEEP,PLOS onePsychological ScienceFrontiers in Human NeuroscienceDaytime Sleepiness Affects Prefrontal Regulation of Food IntakeAll images by: Liran Okanon and Tri Vo

Published in collaboration with Mic

Author: Theresa Fisher is the editor of Brain.Mic. A Brooklyn-based journalist, she writes about health, behavior and justice. 

Image: A stockbroker looks at stock index numbers on his computer screen at a brokerage firm in Mumbai August 6, 2007. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe

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