Pulling an all-nighter might seem like the best option in situations where an assignment is due the next day or when you need to prepare for an exam or a meeting in extreme emergency. However, the study conducted by Norwegian neuroscientists show how waking up the whole night to get things done is a horrible trade-off for the body.
The research was carried out on 21 healthy young men and the volunteers were asked to stay awake for 23 hours to study the repercussions of sleep deprivation through diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTI is used to observe the water diffusion in the human body hence indicating the well-being of the body’s nervous system. The subjects were asked to refrain from caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and food in order to provide control mechanism for the test.
The scan results showed how the connectivity networks in the brain degrade dramatically after sleepless nights. The phenomenon can be explained as fractional anisotropy in technical terminology. The fact is, the white matter of the brain changes drastically when you stay up the whole night and as a result, you experience difficulty in gathering your thoughts the very next day. The effect was found to be prominent in the following areas of the brain; corpus callosum, brainstem, thalamus, fronto temporal and parieto-occipital tracts
The study has not yet delved into the details of the results such as whether the changes in the brain are permanent or temporary. However, an adverse effect on the nervous system, whether it is irreversible or not, is reason enough to not indulge in pulling all-nighters.
Header Image: Chris Klonson, Getty Images
Source: Science Alert