Sparing sleep causes encephalitis, experts warn – best life


Sparing sleep causes encephalitis, experts warn - best life

Inflammation, which is often maligned as a side effect of poor diet or general poor health, can actually be good for you when it’s acute. That’s because during inflammation, the body sends a rush of white blood cells to a specific part of the body to protect against infection or to heal an injury.

However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can wreak havoc on your health, leaving you vulnerable to disease and causing complications throughout the body. Experts are now warning of a dangerous type of brain infection that can occur in response to a bad nighttime habit. Read on to learn which nighttime bug could be causing long-term inflammation and why it might be harmful to your health.

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Chronic inflammation is a dangerous condition that can wreak havoc on other body systems. “When the inflammation gets too high and lasts a long time, and the immune system continues to release white blood cells and chemical messengers that prolong the process, it’s called chronic inflammation,” he explains Harvard Health Publishing. When this happens, the immune system stays in “fight mode” for a long time, causing the same white blood cells to begin attacking healthy tissue or organs.

This can leave you vulnerable to a variety of serious health problems. Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and bowel disease, to name a few.

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woman lying on bed at home unhappy and sleepless at night, feeling overwhelmed, suffering from depression and insomnia

Experts warn that many people develop encephalitis if they don’t get enough sleep at night. To make matters worse, a recent report in the magazine Trends in Neuroscience claims that even if you “catch up” on the lost sleep later, the damage has already been done and will be difficult to undo.

In several recent studies in mice, researchers have found that the long-term damage caused by sleep deprivation persists long after normal sleep patterns have been restored. “After a full year of regular sleep, the previously sleep-deprived mice still suffered from neural damage and encephalitis,” The New York Times reported in a July 2022 article.


Inflammation from lack of sleep appears to be caused by changes in blood vessels, Harvard experts theorize in a separate report. “During sleep, blood pressure drops and blood vessels relax. When sleep is restricted, blood pressure doesn’t drop as it should, which could trigger cells in the walls of blood vessels that trigger inflammation,” they write. “A lack of sleep can also alter the body’s stress response system.”

They also note that poor sleep can cause problems in the glymphatic system (as opposed to the lymphatic system), which is tasked with clearing beta-amyloid proteins in the brain. “During the deepest stages of sleep, cerebrospinal fluid surges through the brain and sweeps away beta-amyloid protein, which is linked to brain cell damage,” their experts write. “Without a good night’s sleep, this house cleaning process is less thorough, allowing protein to build up — and inflammation to develop.”

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If you do Save on sleep, it won’t be long before your brain feels the effects. “Just one night without sleep can keep beta amyloid levels higher than usual,” Harvard Health warns. Worse still is “a cumulative pattern of sleep loss” that she says can lead to “decreases in the structural integrity, size, and function of brain regions like the thalamus and hippocampus, which are particularly susceptible to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.”

To make matters worse, poor sleep for even just one night can quickly translate into poorer sleep overall. “A vicious circle sets in. Accumulation of amyloid beta in the frontal lobe of the brain begins to interfere with deeper slow sleep without REM waves. This damage makes it difficult both to sleep and to preserve and strengthen memories,” write Harvard experts.

If you think your sleeping habits might be affecting your health, talk to your doctor for tips on improving your sleep hygiene and getting better rest.

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