The researchers were able to observe two changes in the brain: Firstly, the happiness hormone dopamine was released in large quantities during the acute lack of sleep. Second, they were able to detect neuronal plasticity in the brains of the mice. This is the ability of synapses, nerve cells and even entire areas of the brain to change if this is beneficial for ongoing processes in the body.
In the case of the overtired mice, synapses in the brain were literally temporarily rewired, according to the researchers. “We found that sleep deprivation over several days has a powerful antidepressant effect and can reconfigure the brain in just a few hours.”
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