Why our brain needs sleep, and what happens if we don’t get enough of it

Many of us have experienced the effects of sleep deprivation: feeling tired and cranky, or finding it hard to concentrate. Sleep is more important for our brains than you may realise. Sleep serves many different functions. One of these is to help us remember experiences we had during the day.

A leading theory of sleep function - the “synaptic homeostasis hypothesis” - suggests that during sleep there is a widespread weakening of connections (known as “synapses”) throughout the brain. This is thought to counterbalance the overall strengthening of connections that occurs during learning when we are awake. Read more here>>

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