What Sleep Deprivation Does to Your Brain, in One Stunning Infographic

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

If you yawn during the day, conk out as soon as your head hits the pillow or re-read this sentence a few times to absorb its meaning, here’s some bad news: You need more sleep.

Scientists still don’t know exactly why we sleep, but according to a near-constant stream of research, most of us need between six and eight hours of shut-eye each night. Unfortunately, only about 30% of us are getting it. That means 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, a certified public health epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleep deprivation takes an enormous toll on our bodies, including bloodshot eyes, increased blood pressure and a fuller waistline. But what’s equally alarming is the negative impact of sleep deprivation on the brain.

This infographic explains what happens to your brain, and what it means for you, when you don’t get enough sleep:


Links to infographic resources: The Journal of Neuroscience, International Scholarly Research Notes, Experimental Brain Research, Psychological Bulletin, UC Berkeley Walker Sleep Lab, PNAS, International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, CDC, The Journal of Neuroscience, SLEEP, PLOS one, Psychological Science, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Daytime Sleepiness Affects Prefrontal Regulation of Food Intake

All images by: Liran Okanon and Tri Vo

GE Scientists and Mic are partnering to share the latest advances in brain research and technology through BrainMic, a Spotlight Series that explores the universe in our heads, now through December 2014. Click here to read more from this series on BrainMic >>

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Theresa Fisher

Theresa writes for ScienceMic. A Brooklyn-based journalist, she likes to write about health, human and animal behavior, and justice. Her work has appeared on Salon.com, JJIE, and The Atlantic.com.

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