Sleep Deprivation for 24 Hours Causes Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Do you get enough sleep? There’s more incentive to do so–at least according to a new study. Scientists have found that 24 hours of sleep deprivation can lead to conditions in healthy individuals that are similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia. The findings may have implications for those who work late at night habitually.
Like Us on Facebook
New Method May Uncover the Genes at the Root of Schizophrenia
In psychosis, an individual loses contact with reality. This is often associated with hallucinations and delusions, and the chronic form of this can be referred to as schizophrenia. People suffering from schizophrenia often report hearing voices, as an example. Because the effects of psychosis can be so severe, scientists decided to see whether sleep deprivation could also cause symptoms.
The researchers examined a total of 24 healthy subjects of both genders between the ages of 18 and 40. First, the volunteers slept normally in the lab and then, about a week later, they were kept awake all night. On the following morning, these participants were then asked about their thoughts and feelings. They also underwent a measurement known as prepulse inhibition.
“Prepulse inhibition is a standard test to measure the filtering function of the brain,” said Nadien Petrovsky, one of the researchers, in a news release. In the end, the researchers found that the filtering function of the brain was significantly reduced following a sleepless night.
That’s not all, either. The participants were also more sensitive to light, color or brightness, and their sense of time and sense of smell were also altered. In addition, they reported mental leaps and some who spent a sleepless night even stated that they had the impression of being able to read thoughts or notice altered body perception.
“In drug development, mental disorders like these have been simulated to date in experiments using certain active substances,” said Ulrich Ettinger, one of the researchers. “Whether the symptoms of sleep deprivation gradually become weaker due to acclimatization has yet to be investigated.”
The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.