Brain growth dependent on sleep

Lack of sleep during adolescent years could have a detrimental effect on brain development.

Using adolescent mice, researchers have found that sleep restrictions prevent balanced growth and depletion of brain synapses.

“One possible implication of our study is that if you lose too much sleep during adolescence, especially chronically, there may be lasting consequences in terms of the wiring of the brain,” one of the authors of the paper said.

Researchers used a two-photon microscope to follow growth and retraction of synapses, comparing those of adolescent mice that for eight to ten hours were spontaneously awake, allowed to sleep or forced to stay awake.

“These results using acute manipulations of just eight to 10 hours show that the time spent asleep or awake affects how many synapses are being formed or removed in the adolescent brain,” they said.

Read more at Nature Neuroscience