A new study shows that one night of sleep deprivation increases morning blood concentrations of NSE and S-100B — molecules typically found in the brain — in healthy young men. Researchers think that the rise of these molecules in blood after sleep loss may indicate that a lack of sleep might mean loss of brain tissue.
The findings of the study, conducted by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden, are published in the journal SLEEP. Fifteen normal-weight men participated in the study. In one condition they were sleep-deprived for one night, while in the other condition they slept for approximately 8 hours.
“These brain molecules typically rise in blood under conditions of brain damage,” said sleep researcher Christian Benedict at the Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, who led the study. “Thus, our results indicate that a lack of sleep may promote neurodegenerative processes….In conclusion, the findings of our trial indicate that a good night’s sleep may be critical for maintaining brain health.”