Missing out on adequate amounts of sleep can have an impact on your ability to pay attention, your cognitive performance and even your mood.  Now, university researchers say it can even kill brain cells.  UT Health Science Center sleep expert Dr. Richard Castriotta says this new information isn't surprising.

“We do know that, in the animal models, if you keep them awake long enough, they do die,” Castriotta says. “We can't do that with humans, but we do know that there are serious repercussions from sleep deprivation.”

Brain cells which die are lost forever.  All testing was done on animals, but it does put a new face on what can happen if you don't get your "40 winks."

We’ve seen what can happen in the past.

“Things like Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Exxon-Valdez and the Challenger,” he says.  “Almost all of these things took place at a time when the controllers should have been sleeping.”