Insomniac brains lose focus

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

sleep mask
A sleeping mask.

I wish I could fall asleep within minutes of my head landing on the pillow. Mmm, to dream those lovely dreams and just drift off into sweet slumber. But… no. Instead, my mind seems to wait until the very moment I’m lying in bed to begin talking and talking and talking. So, I check my Twitter, maybe browse the news, and try rolling over again. Nope! The brain just keeps yacking and yacking.

Struggling to sleep at night has a name, and it’s “insomnia.” Unfortunately, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego, this insomnia I sometimes get means I’m not going to do so well on memory tests! It not only causes troubles at night, but can impact your daytime reactions and ability to focus.

The study compared 25 people with insomnia to 25 folks who are lucky enough to call themselves good sleepers. One of the researchers, Professor Sean Drummond, said, “We found that insomnia subjects did not properly turn on brain regions critical to a working memory task and did not turn off ‘mind-wandering’ brain regions irrelevant to the task.” Ugh. Not good news for me! He went on to explain, “This data helps us understand that people with insomnia not only have trouble sleeping at night, but their brains are not functioning as efficiently during the day.” Well, thanks Professor! Now, I just hope I don’t end up becoming a sleep-texter! I think I need to get myself on a regular sleep schedule, or my math and reading scores might go down.

Featured image courtesy of Liz Lawley on Wikipedia.