Our brains need sleep to work properly. Sleep deprivation can have a very negative effect on our ability to make sound decisions. It particularly affects a function of the brain known as cognitive flexibility, the ability to change our thinking based on new information. This means that not sleeping enough may lead to taking riskier decisions, without us not even realizing it.
Sleep is so essential to life that even a tiny, freshwater animal called a hydra, with a very simple anatomy and lacking a brain, needs to sleep. Even more surprising disrupting the hydras’ sleep state results in signs of sleep deprivation, such as needing to sleep more afterwards and reduced cell growth.
The good news is that the solution to this problem is available to all of us, we just need to cut back on our nighttime diet of social media and distractions and reclaim our hours of sufficient good-quality sleep. Remember, the time you sleep is also important since all of our cells have a built-in circadian rhythm, so try to get sleep before 11pm if possible.