Sleep Deprivation During Wedding Planning (and In Life) Can Do Crazy Things to Your Brain

Seriously—it's hurting your head in a freaky way

Updated 08/22/17

Joseph Leombruno

We understand better than anyone about the million and one wedding-prep concerns keeping you busy during the day, and oftentimes keeping you up at night. But if you're skimping on sleep, strategically or intentionally—stop immediately! According to a new study from the Journal of Neuroscience, a sleep-deprived brain can start eating itself. If terrifying sci-fi music just started playing in your head, you're not alone.

No amount of gasp emojis could convey our shock after reading this; as MSN puts it: "As we sleep, our brains do more than replenish our energy; they also clear away the toxic byproducts of neural activity from the day. [...] But because of the lack of shut-eye, the brain goes a bit overboard with its cleaning—hence its terrifying self-eating habit."

Researchers discovered this freaky function by comparing brain activity in lab mice that were "well-rested," meaning they slept for six to eight hours a day, with that of three other groups with disturbed sleeping patterns. The phagocytosis, referring to the process of specialized cells INGESTING other materials, "increased after both acute and chronic sleep loss relative to sleep and wake."

So while, sure, every night's slumbering can't have the makings of an effective NyQuil ad, let's aim for that lucky number (seven hours) like our lives depend on it. Worrying about all the minor details of your wedding day in a way that burgles your sleep certainly won't make you a better planner. (Not to be dramatic—well, more dramatic—but we're pretty sure a full brain works twice as well as a half-eaten one.)

Besides, did you know that an alternative definition of a "sleeper" is "someone who becomes unexpectedly successful or important?" Maybe scheduled power-napping is actually the secret to the most victorious wedding planning ever. How 'bout ya sleep on it.

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