Sleep ‘boosts brain cell numbers’

An interesting article on the BBC news website reveals that sleep is good for your long term ‘braininess’ – well, that’s the way I want to read it. Of course running the logic to its natural conclusion it means my brain would make Einstein weep as his new-found inferiority was discovered.

Synapses Artwork Copyright SPL
Synapses Artwork Copyright SPL

From my experience, and I imagine it still goes on today at universities around the world, students spent inordinate amounts of time in bed – asleep. It has created a long-time misunderstanding of the student psyche, that what is now known to be a brain enhancing activity, has led to misunderstandings on the part of adults, in particular parents, leading to students being known as layabouts and lazy bums (somehow I knew my parents were wrong). Safe in the knowledge that this is a necessary requirement for brain integrity, a student can now sleep much longer hours feeling no guilt, ensuring their myelin production is going full pelt and preserving the integrity of their brains for when they get jobs. Of course, a fully functional brain isn’t the only requirement for a job; some knowledge and reasoning ability counts for something as well.

But let us not get too excited, the research from which this knowledge is derived at the University of Wisconsin, comes from the study of mice. Some might see immediately the connection with student populations, although mice are probably better at running a maze.

On a serious note, the production of myelin, or rather the interference with the proper production and laying down of myelin is a causal factor of multiple sclerosis. Sleep is also linked to the production of growth hormone in children and young adults. So next time you see a ‘lazy’ student, just think to yourself that they are the future of our intelligentsia and let them have their sleep. Bless ‘em.

Now for the serious part of this blog: Zombies – do they sleep? How do they maintain their myelin sheathing? If they don’t sleep, or don’t metabolise, does this mean that they are doomed to loose even motor responsiveness, meaning they will eventually fall down and fail? How long will this take? If the brain is so all important to the longevity of a zombie, and it certainly appears to be, then these are real issues to which there have to be answers. Calling all universities – a PhD fund needs to be created in order to solve this conundrum. Quickly, before this point is moot!


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