Your Brain Could Be Sleeping Even When You're Awake

Everybody freak out: a new study shows sleep deprivation could screw up your brain before you even feel tired.

According to LiveScience, scientists at the University of Wisconsin, Madison studied the brains of rats who had been sleep-deprived for four hours. During that period — equivalent to a night or less for a human — small portions of the brain lapsed into inactivity as though they were asleep, although the rats themselves remained awake and open-eyed. A subsequent test showed that the rats grew worse at grabbing a sugar pellet the longer they were sleep-deprived.

Study author Chiara Cirelli says, "Based on what we know right now about sleep in rodents versus humans... we have little reason to doubt that something like this happens in humans." And since four hours for a rat really doesn't translate to all that much sleep deprivation, you're probably wandering around like a zombie without even knowing it: "Even before you feel fatigued, there are signs in the brain that you should stop certain activities that may require alertness. Specific groups of neurons may be falling asleep, with negative consequences on performance."

So if you are trying to grab sugar pellets on just five hours sleep, quit it, because you are probably fucking it up. Same goes for driving, operating heavy machinery, eating, reading, and thinking. You should probably go take a nap right now.

Memory Lapses Linked To Napping Brain Cells [LiveScience, via CBS]

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