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Medicine

Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-can-sleep-when-we're-dead dept.
First time accepted submitter nani popoki writes "Skipping a good night's sleep can cause brain damage according to a new study. From the article: 'Are you a truck driver or shift worker planning to catch up on some sleep this weekend? Cramming in extra hours of shut-eye may not make up for those lost pulling all-nighters, new research indicates. The damage may already be done — brain damage, that is, said neuroscientist Sigrid Veasey from the University of Pennsylvania. The widely held idea that you can pay back a sizeable "sleep debt" with long naps later on seems to be a myth, she said in a study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. Long-term sleep deprivation saps the brain of power even after days of recovery sleep, Veasey said. And that could be a sign of lasting brain injury.'"
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Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

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  • Oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:35AM (#46531115)

    ...Shit.

    • Re:Oh... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:52AM (#46531185) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, also: oh, bullshit.

      If this were true I wouldn't even have a brain left.

      I bet there are so many caveats here that the truth of this is almost certain to be lost in the noise. People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable. People smoke their entire lives, no cancer. Others, bang, almost right away. Some people have immense physical stamina. Some enjoy the night. Some like the day. Some think kids are the most wonderful thing in the world, others think they're the purest form of annoyance. Some people live for sex, others don't care.

      And then there's the stats angle... Headline: "your chances are TWICE the nomal fella if you (fill in the blank)", when it turns out that the chances for the normal fella are one in ten thousand, and yours are now a whopping 1 in 5000. Yawn.

      Nah, not buying it. Think I'll skip sleeping tonight and play with my radios. :) 80 meters is open all night, and it's pretty quiet (in the atmospheric noise sense) now!

      You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

      • This is true (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It never said that the brain damage it gives you is as dramatic as you're making it out to be. It is actually miniscule damage. But that minuscule damage could cause very minor memory loss, such as forgetting one thing in a test or forgetting something on your shopping list.

        • by sjames (1099)

          Or it could be why so many elderly people suffer from sleep disorders.

      • People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable

        There is a lot of truth in what u're sayin. But the ones u mention are statistically rare cases. I wreck my circadian rythm every now and then and yes the next day is buzzed. What the article suggests is , unlike previous belief that it's like an account where you can lose some sleep and make up for it aint entirely true. It takes a while to make up for it.

      • Re:Oh... (Score:5, Informative)

        by milkmage (795746) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @02:31AM (#46531483)

        did you actually RTFA?

        LONG TERM sleep deprivation. As in your lifestyle - swing shifters, etc. Not the occasional amphetamine binge, or caffeine fueled cram/D&D/gaming session.

        never mind the actual experiment they conducted where they found neurons destroyed in the brains of mice that were kept on a wonky sleep schedule.

        our bodies are TUNED to be active during the day, sleep at night.

        probably contributes to jetlag.. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org] "Although circadian rhythms are endogenous ("built-in", self-sustained), they are adjusted (entrained) to the local environment by external cues called zeitgebers, commonly the most important of which is daylight."

        • Even when I'm on a normal circadian rhythm, I'm way more awake at night than during the day. Natural sunlight makes me sleepy.
          • by VVelox (819695)

            Congrats, you are nocturnal.

            Embrace it and you will be much happier. Been professionally nocturnal for 7 years now and I love it. If you live in a big city is is actually very easy to do.

            • Embrace it and you will be much happier

              Proceed with caution - This can cause issues depending on where you are in your life, or where you want to be. If you want to one day settle down with someone and have kids, then a nocturnal lifestyle is really incompatible with that. My sister is married to a nocturnal guy, and now that they have two kids it puts a real stress on their marriage. School, school events, swimming lessons, birthday parties - These regular 'family life' events all occur during the da

          • Re:Oh... (Score:4, Informative)

            by asylumx (881307) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @08:27AM (#46532581)
            The article isn't about whether you sleep at night or not, it's about whether you skip sleep regularly.
        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          What about that study where they found neurons destroyed in the brain every day just from living? And those other ones showing the brain rerouting around damage?
        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          LONG TERM sleep deprivation. As in your lifestyle - swing shifters, etc.

          So what about people who permanently work 3rd shift? Is it just a problem for people who keep shifting their schedule around?

      • You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

        A pity superstition (like stupidity in general) isn't painful. Stupid should hurt, dammnit.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          A pity superstition (like stupidity in general) isn't painful. Stupid should hurt, dammnit.

          It is, and it does. But pain is a bad, ambiguous teacher: does it hurt because you are a Neo-Nazi in modern-day Germany or because you are an antifascist in Nazi Germany?

          The only thing pain tells you is that you're at odds with your surroundings. It does not reveal which one, if either, is in the right.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

        It's bad luck to be superstitious.

      • Re:Oh... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @04:59AM (#46531879)

        You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

        Fortunately a lucky rabbit's foot gives 100% protection against this effect.

        • Except that real lucky rabbits don't lose their feet and have to get prosthetics fitted. You're only getting unlucky rabbits' feet.

      • by gutnor (872759)

        I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt

        Well taking that much salt will clog your arteries and you will die in horrible suffering studies say :-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Mostly, I agree with what you say. But I do believe that long term sleep deprivation is not healthy. I once read a believable article claiming that sleep clears the brain of waste chemicals, kind of like going to the bathroom. Without losing that waste it starts to build up and poison you.

        Other than that, it's also rather straightforward self-experience. If you feel like shit after pulling 24hrs it's probably because shit is happening to you. Just like when drinking too much alcohol.

      • Science is always trying to catch up...
        to me.
        I figured out a long time ago, the sleep you miss is merely deducted from your lifespan. You can't get it back.

        • I wouldn't go as far as that, but considering that sleep is garbage collection, that a lot of living creatures risk their life every time they go "offline" to perform it, and that it's the only occasion for nerds to have satisfying interaction with the other sex (in their dreams, that is), I am sure treating sleep with RESPECT.

      • Let me guess, you also think that drinking a lot of soda pop will not make you fat?

      • Yeah, also: oh, bullshit.

        If this were true I wouldn't even have a brain left.

        I bet there are so many caveats here that the truth of this is almost certain to be lost in the noise. People differ so much, I tend to take it with a very large dose of salt when someone tells me such and such consequences are inevitable. People smoke their entire lives, no cancer. Others, bang, almost right away. Some people have immense physical stamina. Some enjoy the night. Some like the day. Some think kids are the most wonderful thing in the world, others think they're the purest form of annoyance. Some people live for sex, others don't care.

        And then there's the stats angle... Headline: "your chances are TWICE the nomal fella if you (fill in the blank)", when it turns out that the chances for the normal fella are one in ten thousand, and yours are now a whopping 1 in 5000. Yawn.

        Nah, not buying it. Think I'll skip sleeping tonight and play with my radios. :) 80 meters is open all night, and it's pretty quiet (in the atmospheric noise sense) now!

        You know what probably REALLY gives you brain damage? Superstition.

        ===
        How would you know if the all nighter is BS? After all, you may be thinking that because your brain was modified (ie, damaged in a particular way).

    • No shit ! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:21AM (#46531281) Journal

      Not all of us like to pull all-nighters.

      For some of us, our brains refuse to stop going overdrive until our mission / project is over.

      Since my college days, whenever I am in a mission for something, my brain kicks up to the overdrive, and even if I sleep, it still keep churning and churning, resulting in me having really lousy sleeps, with imageries of what I was doing, what I am going to do, what I ought be doing (some times they are " hints " from the sub-conscious) kept on flashing up in my dreams.

      For example: I may be in the middle of a very difficult and confusing debugging job.

      After non-stop eyeballing the codes, countless re-and re-re-running of the resulting compilations, I get tired and hit the sack.

      But in my dreams, images of the screens popping up, with texts (source code) scrolling up and down and sideways, with my "dream self" doing the "virtual debugging" inside my dreams.

      It's a goddamn fucking torture, man.

      That is why sometimes I rather pull an all-nighters to get the job done, rather than having those un-ending-loop of imagery invading my sleep.

      • Agreed, if I have to pull an all-nighter, then someone else could be subject to permanent damage.

      • Re:No shit ! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gargleblast (683147) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:43AM (#46531371)

        with my "dream self" doing the "virtual debugging"

        Then there are the nights you do real debugging.

        I modified an overnight cron job that downloaded sales from and uploaded prices to shops. Woke up at 2AM thinking "that program will not work". Logged in remotely and looked over a plethora of failing jobs. Stopped them, edited the program, set it running again, watched it run for a while and then went back to bed. What had I remembered? Not putting a double-semicolon on a new entry in a case-esac statement.

        • by camperdave (969942) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:50AM (#46531393) Journal
          I remember dreaming at a keyboard, and when I snapped awake, I had found that I had typed words from my dream into my code. I decided that it was time to go home at that point.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Did it compile?

          • by Kz (4332)

            I remember dreaming at a keyboard, and when I snapped awake, I had found that I had typed words from my dream into my code. I decided that it was time to go home at that point.

            it's more embarrassing to dream-type the commit message and get just wake enough to do "git push" so everybody can see it. (real story, less than a week old)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        and even if I sleep, it still keep churning and churning

        I had the same issue, I found it was what I was eating and how I exercised. I stop eating anything with sugar, citric acid, or caffeine after 8. Try to eat before 7. With a bit of exercise. If I do that my body naturally falls into a sleep by 12:30 (usually 11:30). I wake up around 8-9 very refreshed and usually bang out whatever bug was killing me last night.

        You are not falling completely asleep. You are not getting past your dreaming state. So

      • by advantis (622471)

        My most infuriating experience was when I solved a problem I had at work, it compiled, it did everything it needed to do, but when I went to commit it to SVN I had no Internet. After a few attempts, I realised I was dreaming and I woke up. And I had to type all that again when I got into the office.

        • by chihowa (366380) *

          I used to do that often as a kid. I would dream through a boring school-day in all it's tedious monotony and in excruciating detail... then wake up and find I had to do it all again. The last time it happened, the waking up and doing it a second time part was also just a dream and I went through that day three times. Thankfully, that was the last of that recurring dream sequence.

    • I was try to refute these claims but all I can muster is "derp derp derp" after spending the past month playing Rust instead of sleeping.
  • by stenvar (2789879) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:35AM (#46531117)

    Sleep deprivation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "an all-nighter" would cause permanent brain damage in any meaningful sense.

    • by khasim (1285)

      And if it did cause damage, then wouldn't an MRI or such be able to show the damage?

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Probably not unless it was acute or traumatic damage - individual neurons don't show up in modern MRIs, much less individual dendrites, and if the damage is minor and internal to the cells it would be essentially impossible to detect at all with modern technology.

    • by pipedwho (1174327) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:46AM (#46531159)

      Sleep deprivation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "an all-nighter" would cause permanent brain damage in any meaningful sense.

      I doubt a single all-nighter is going to cause a measurable change to your long term brain function. However, anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

      Regarding human evolution; people generally sleep when it is dark. And with no unnatural sources of light, historically sleep deprivation would not have been anywhere near as common as it has become in modern society.

      • > anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable
        > in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

        I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

        The article itself (or at least the blurb) is sensationalist in its use of "brain damage".

        If I never did any all nighters, ok, maybe I would have avoided some "measurable" but insignificantly small amount of damage, but I would hav

        • by careysub (976506)

          > anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable > in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

          I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

          Ummm... years of hard exercise most definitely does cause permanent injury [wikipedia.org], Google "overuse injury" to see as many links on it at as you care to read. Athletes are forced to end careers all the time for this reason. And then there is Osteoarthritis [wikipedia.org] which causes permanent disability due to bone damage from overuse.

          • I said muscles. You're talking about tendons. And your example is a corner case - most people who exercise never get tennis elbow. Even among those whose sport of choice is tennis!

        • by sjames (1099)

          I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

          But if you go too far over the line, you actually can exercise your way to rhabdomyolysis.

        • by pipedwho (1174327)

          Muscles are not necessarily damaged by small amounts of activity, but take them beyond their limits too often or too quickly and you get tears, strains and other indirect problems related to interconnects like bones and tendons. Sleep deprivation is not a typical activity and should be likened to overexertion or overuse.

          I agree the blurb is sensationalist in its claims, but the observations in the article are still valid within the domain in their claims of how sleep deprivation affects the mice they were t

          • Last I checked (a few years ago), the pretty much universally accepted theory of muscle growth is that muscle fibres suffer micro-tears during exercise, and these heal back slightly stronger than before. Bodybuilders inflict more micro-tears on their muscle fibres than other exercisers and then try to maximise nutrition, rest, and hormones afterwards to maximise the healing.

            The observations might be valid in some sense (e.g. not incorrect) but it looks to me like an insignificant finding that's been dresse

      • by asylumx (881307)
        Just to back up the parent, TFA is not talking about one all-nighter, but does say that a few days on a "shift work" sleep schedule (whatever that is) has a dramatic effect. To me this reads as if it's more about getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis, rather than "missing sleep."

        Bear in mind, the linked article is from CNN, and CNN is NOT known for their deep thoughts or complete, or even accurate, coverage.
        • CNN is NOT known for their deep thoughts or complete, or even accurate, coverage.

          But the Fox tabloid is, right?
          • by asylumx (881307)

            But the Fox tabloid is, right?

            Hell no. What, out of my post, would make any reasonable person infer that? WTF is wrong with you?

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:53AM (#46531199)

      Being eaten by tigers was also common and natural. Natural is not a synonym for healthy.

      This study is a long way from proving anything, but I suspect a lot of people will just dismiss it entirely because they don't want to believe it.

      • by khellendros1984 (792761) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:01AM (#46531215) Journal
        About all that could be really said is that any damage from sleep deprivation didn't tend to kill our ancestors before they bred.
      • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:19AM (#46531277) Homepage Journal

        "Natural is not a synonym for healthy."

        Unless, of course, you are the tiger.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Being eaten by tigers was also common and natural. Natural is not a synonym for healthy.

        Saying that "sleep deprivation is common and natural" is a shorthand for saying that "sleep deprivation has exerted evolutionary pressure on humans frequently and since prehistoric times". If it caused significant and permanent brain damage, it would have reduced human fitness and been selected against, in particular since we know that there are many mammals that can deal with sleep deprivation just fine. Hence, it is im

        • Are you really so biologically illiterate that you are confusing my statement with the common "natural is good" fallacy? Geez.

          Are you really so humour-impaired that you are mistaking his witticism for serious debate? :-D

        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @07:53AM (#46532411) Homepage Journal

          And it's implausible that people being eaten by tigers cause death, right?

          There's nothing wrong with the GP's analogy. Sleep deprivation may have been common, but it's not like every human being suffered from it. As a result, like numerous other natural factors, from the plague, the numerous historical waves of lead poisoning (ancient rome, 19th Century plumbing, 20th century car exhausts) to "being eaten by tigers", the mere fact we've survived it doesn't mean that it's harmless.

          But yes, it's (probably) exerted some minor evolutionary pressure, though not the pressure you appear to think (and you're claiming the GP is "biologically illiterate"?)

          This is about minor but very real brain damage. If our bodies have not found a way to adapt to childhood lead poisoning, which has a much greater affect on the brain, then it's pretty safe to assume that human beings have survived in spite of this, not finding some way to make our bodies stronger. A more plausible solution to how we've survived as a species despite numerous natural attacks on our ability to think clearly is that we've evolved, or always were able, to deal with a certain amount of poor thinking, to route around brain damage rather than fix it.

          Is a slightly impaired brain going to prevent the person whose brain it is reproducing? Some would argue the opposite. Will it prevent that person from living? No, because they still function enough to perform the basic tasks required in any society to live, and because the social constructs we've evolved to want and demand provide a minimum level of support for every person. Will it make it harder for that person to bring up their offspring? No, again because they'll still function enough to perform the basic tasks required in any society to live, and because of the aforementioned social constructs.

          The tigers, if anything, are more likely to have had a significant evolutionary effect, in that nobody survives being eaten by one, and so it would stand to reason that we've developed more traits related to avoiding being eaten by tigers than about repairing or preventing brain damage.

        • by careysub (976506)

          Are you really so biologically illiterate that you are confusing my statement with the common "natural is good" fallacy? Geez.

          Easy there pardner. Don't go throwing around accusations of "biological illiteracy" when your premise ("sleep deprivation common throughout human history") has zero support. Before the age of lamps staying up all night would be quite rare, and would not have become particularly prevalent until the age of electric lighting made light cheap and abundantly available at night.

          And since all kinds of things humans were subjected to in prehistory still cause us injury the notion of this broad form of argument is f

        • How do you "select against" a voluntary activity? If we're stubborn enough we'll just do it anyway.

      • I know some folks who like smoking so much that they dismiss any information that says it's bad for you because they don't want to believe it. Then again, some folks smoke until their 90s, never get emphysema, and eventually die of old age (knew one of them).

        I also know some folks who appear to be addicted to all-nighters (like a runner's high, they apparently get some sort of high from staying up too long)... Then again, most of them smoke too, so maybe there's some sort of correlation.

        Me, I'm not taking

        • by u38cg (607297)
          Approximately one third of smokers never show symptoms related to smoking associated diseases. The rest die of lung cancer. No-one can predict which you'll be. The question is, how lucky do you feel?
      • by nbauman (624611)

        I suspect a lot of people will dismiss it entirely because it was done on mice, and humans are not big mice.

    • by nbauman (624611)

      And mouse evolution, since this study was done in mice.

      When they replicate this study in humans I'll pay attention.

      Humans are not big mice.

    • But never in human history has the brain been more important. Perhaps a little damage back hundreds of years equates to a lot of damege in the modern era. Sleep deprivation to catch extra food at the expense of brain power may have been advantageous but brain wastage to play that new game may not be so beneficial.
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        Unlike prehistoric times, brain damage today is less likely to get you killed or to prevent you from reproducing. In modern societies, the better your brain functions, the less you reproduce.

    • by infolation (840436) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @05:28AM (#46531945)

      Anyone who's had children knows that sleep deprivation, and all-nighters, are routine during the first two years.

      Although, arguably, bringing up kids involves a certain amount of inherent brain damage anyway.

    • by ketomax (2859503)
      Benjamin Franklin said that there will be plenty of time to sleep once you are dead. What he did not mention was that this abundance of time won't be far away if you keep following his advice.
    • Someone didn't read the study.

      Our brain does have natural defenses against sleep deprivation. A single all-nighter would produce no brain damage because of a specific protein the brain creates to protect it from damage. Repeated sleep deprivation (aka chronic sleep deprivation) leads to brain damage because this protection mechanism stops functioning.

      • Addendum: humans also didn't evolve with artificial lighting or even something like torches. When night time hit there wasn't much else to do but sleep.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        My comment was on the interpretation of the study on Slashdot: "Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage"

    • Food depreciation has been a natural and common occurrence throughout human evolution. It seems highly implausible that "starving" would cause permanent damage in any meaningful sense.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        And, whaddayaknow, your body has elaborate mechanisms for dealing with food deprivation and starvation. You only die from starvation when your body has run out of all options, and you usually recover fully when your food supply is restored. QED.

        • Are you just making that up? Or did you read completely different studies, that studied the detrimental long term effects of starvation?

    • Sounds like you are another one of the vast majority of folks who simply lack self awareness or perception. Try paying attention, for a change.

    • Why? Brain damage isn't passed on.

      I'm not disagreeing with you; I just don't see how sleep deprivation occurring throughout human history proves that it doesn't cause brain damage. Maybe everybody has just lived with it/not noticed.

    • by sjames (1099)

      The research does not suggest that *AN* all-nighter or even an occasional all-nighter will cause a problem. It suggests that routine disruption of the sleep cycle might cause a problem.

      Much like a lifetime of daily hour long tanning sessions will cause considerable skin damage but it doesn't mean you are at risk of 3rd degree burns walking to your car in the daytime.

  • by jonnythan (79727) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:37AM (#46531125) Homepage

    ... as I read this at 1 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. Heh. "Tomorrow."

    • by stoploss (2842505)

      ... as I read this at 1 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. Heh. "Tomorrow."

      ...as I read this at 4 AM when I have to be up at 6:30 tomorrow. At which point does one simply write off sleep for the night if solely because getting a small amount feels worse than no sleep at all?

      • Anything below 4.5 hours for me, although that was a couple years back when I could still handle 5 hours of sleep a night, and 4.5 for only 1 or 2 a week. Although getting any less than that wasn't practical more for the reason that I *would* sleep through the alarm rather than that I would feel like shit and be falling asleep the next day (although that was also true).

        Once every couple months I would have a day where I slept through my alarm anyway and woke up at like 4pm :)

      • by Valdrax (32670)

        At which point does one simply write off sleep for the night if solely because getting a small amount feels worse than no sleep at all?

        At my age? Never. ANY sleep is better than no sleep. Otherwise you spend the day microsleeping and only waking when your head dips.

  • Dec 2013 Research (Score:5, Informative)

    by mynamestolen (2566945) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:38AM (#46531129)

    Dec2103 Cut and Paste from internet (I didn't record where): Sleep deprivation has long been established as a helpful tool for the treatment of patients suffering from depression. However, how and why it works are still unknown. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have indicated that large-scale brain network connectivity, especially in the so-called default mode network, seems to be changed in depression. Bosch et al. investigated whether sleep deprivation could influence this brain connectivity. They discovered that sleep deprivation decreased functional connectivity between a brain area called the posterior cingulate cortex and the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, connectivity between the dorsal nexus, a region that plays a crucial role in the pathophysiology of depression, and two areas within the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was increased. These sleep deprivation–induced changes in resting-state connectivity indicate a shift in dominance from a more affective to a more cognitive network. This shift toward improved cognitive control should be particularly beneficial in depressed patients who suffer from rumination, negative anticipation, and excessive feelings of guilt and shame.

    • Possible source: http://www.pnas.org/content/ea... [pnas.org]. Unfortunately paywalled.
    • I have also noticed that mild sleep deprivation (sleeping for only 6 hours for example) can temporarily make me feel better if I have been feeling a bit "moody" lately.
    • by asylumx (881307)
      Very interesting. So what they are saying is that there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the "sleep loss" story. Imagine that -- the world is not black & white!

      Thanks for the post!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    i hav ben workin ovr nights fer many years an it hasnt fected my inteligents one bit
  • In mice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilSS (557649) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:22AM (#46531285)
    Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage in mice. The study was done on mice, not people. While it's an interesting first step, it is not in anyway conclusive that the results also apply to humans.
    • Wait! You're right! The study is seriously flawed! Mice already stay up all night; they're nocturnal by nature. So how could pulling "all-nighters" cause demonstrable brain damage in animals that have a natural predilection for so doing?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How many mice do you see teaching at universities? Zero. That should be evidence enough that staying up all night causes brain damage.

  • by swb (14022) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @06:47AM (#46532189)

    The older I get (I'm 47), the more staying up late affects me. And by staying up late, I mean anything past about 11:30. Staying up after midnight literally makes me feel ill the next day -- my joints ache and I generally feel unwell.

    When I was in my 20s I had to make myself go to bed -- listening to the BBC at midnight was my usual routine, and getting up at 6-630 was no problem.

    • by Nivag064 (904744)

      I'm 63 and I don't feel that unwell nor have joint pains if I get less than 4 hours sleep, except for feeling groggy and having aching eyes the first few minutes after waking in the morning. Though I endeavour to get at least 6 hours a night. Now I try to get to sleep not much after 10pm, but I'm normally up & dressed by 7am most mornings regardless.

      There is enough research on humans, to suggest that adequate sleep is important for mental health for me to take it seriously. Similarly, for adequate exer

  • I dunno, Mr Researcher Man, isn't it your job to SHOW that it's a sign of brain damage?

  • It's no surprise that cutting down on sleep has negative effects. The short term effects have been evaluated experimentally - people without sleep are less capable of resisting junk food, irritable and less alert.

    The strange thing is that there's *never* been an attempt to characterize the advantages. I saw some notes in the posts above about experimenting with radios, listening to the BBC, etc. which are things that probably hone your mental abilities. If you pull all nighters studying to get into a good s

  • A couple of times a year, I stay up all through the night and go to work the next day. I find that it's not too disruptive, and that I get a bit more contemplative during the second day. It's not something I do on any kind of regular or planned basis -- it just sort of happens ... I can't sleep, so I read a book or futz around on the computer or mess with musical instruments and before I know it, dawn comes and it's time to go back to work. It's almost like one really long workday, with a really long lunch
  • Posted by samzenpus on Thursday March 20, 2014 @12:32AM
  • From the article:

    The discovery that long-term sleep loss can result in a loss of brain cells is a first, Veasey said. "No one really thought that the brain could be irreversibly injured from sleep loss," she said. That has now changed.

    I thought cells were constantly being reproduced in the human body. If so, I'm not so sure what so "irreversible" about the damage.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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