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Sleep-Deprived Brains Can Go ‘Off-Line’

Sleep Deprived Brain
Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

Be good to your brain and get your sleep! Have you ever felt like a zombie after a night with little or no sleep? Now we know why. Some regions of the brain can take a quick nap even when we’re awake, leading to mistakes and errors in our performance, researchers say. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say they’ve discovered that some cells in a sleep-deprived brain can briefly take themselves “off-line” and into a state much like being asleep even though the rest of the brain is still awake. Previously, scientists thought that sleep deprivation generally affected the entire brain, with EEGs showing overall brain-wave patterns typical of either being asleep or awake. But new research has shown that sleep-deprived brains begin showing sleep-like activity in some regions that impairs them even though a person is still awake, researchers said.

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