Sleep Loss Damages Brain, Study Claims

February 8, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. blow /bloʊ/ (n.) – a sudden hit or attack, especially with the fist
Example: The boxer’s head is bleeding after receiving a strong blow from the opponent.

2. deprived /dɪˈpraɪvd/ (adj.) – having little access to things needed to maintain good health
Example: He is sleep-deprived because he works until late at night. 

3. molecule /ˈmɒləˌkyul/ (n.) – the smallest unit of a chemical compound
ExampleA microscope is required to be able to see molecules.

4. signify /ˈsɪgnəˌfaɪ/ (v.) – to imply or to indicate
Example: Yawning signifies that one is sleepy. 

5. indispensable /ˌɪndɪˈspɛnsəbəl/ (adj.) – extremely necessary or very important
Example: Fruits and vegetables are indispensable parts of a healthy diet.


Read the text below.
Not sleeping for one night may damage the brain like a blow to the head, a recent study revealed.

Professor Christian Benedict of Uppsala University in Sweden studied a group of young men who were sleep-deprived. According to the study, a young man who was not able to sleep even just for one night had an increased level of NSE and S-100B molecules, similar to when a person is hit in the head.

NSE is a neural enzyme while S-100B is a protein present in the cells of the central nervous system. These molecules are not poisonous, but their increased levels in the blood may signify brain damage.

Professor Benedict found in his experiment that men lacking sleep had increased levels of NSE and S-100B. This result indicates that lack of sleep may lead to a loss of brain tissue. Professor Benedict thus emphasized that good sleep is indispensable in maintaining brain health.

This recent study supports previous studies that say lack of sleep harms the brain. Previous studies also claim that lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns may cause illnesses such as diabetes, ulcers, heart diseases, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Lack of sleep may also result in a lower IQ.

Based on statistics, one third of the population in the United Kingdom suffers from sleep-related problems. Recent studies have also shown that people do not get as much sleep as they used to, from nine hours 10 years ago to seven hours nowadays.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with the conclusion of the study? Why or why not?
·         After reading this article, would you now try to get more than enough sleep? Explain.

Discussion B

·         How do you think people can get enough sleep? Explain.
·         How else can lack of sleep affect a person? Kindly explain.


February 8, 2014