Loss of a single night’s sleep is enough to block your brain’s natural reset mechanism, reports The Irish Times.
But Christoph Nissen, a psychiatrist who led the study at the University of Freiburg, is also excited about the potential for helping people with mental health disorders. One radical treatment for major depression is therapeutic sleep deprivation, which Nissen believes works through changing the patient’s brain connectivity. The new research offers a deeper understanding of the phenomenon which could be adapted to produce more practical treatments.
“Why we sleep is a fundamental question. Why do we spend so much of our lives in this brain state? This work shows us that sleep is a highly active brain process and not a waste of time. It’s required for healthy brain function,” said Nissen.