Sleep is important – to, well, function – but also for rest and recovery when you’re trying to achieve your health goals. We chatted with Dr Sigrid Veasey, a doctor at Penn’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Neurobiology, whose studies have gone beyond what you likely already know – that you’re not sleeping enough and that it’s bad for you – and unearthed some deeper, though perhaps more anxiety-inducing, revelations about why the effects of chronic sleep loss create a deficit you might never overcome. Because, in addition to all of its wonderful supercomputer abilities, your brain is also kind of like a trash can.
That’s not very nice. And, um, what?
Here’s the downside of using your brain: In the process of carrying the electrical signals that are sent throughout your body to make it, you know, do things, neurons make toxic proteins (like amyloid and tau, associated with CTE and Alzheimer’s). Scientists believe that part of sleep’s function is to allow your body time to clear them out of your dome. So, depriving yourself of sleep is a bit like looking at your kitchen’s overflowing trash, and being like, Nah, it’s cool. Except instead of a trash can, it’s your brain.
Okay, yeah, but you can just take that trash out at a later date, as in: make up for lack of sleep during the work week by sleeping through the we