Getting through the day after a sleepless night is something mums regularly have to deal with, but that doesn’t make it any easier.


Not only does it make us feel irritable and easily frustrated, according to research, it also plays havoc on our attention span, so now you know why it takes you longer than normal to complete easy tasks! 


According to neuroscientisits at Queensland Brain Institute in Australia, sleep and attention are intertwined and may have even evolved to regulate each other.


Researchers analysed sleep studies conducted on animals and the data revealed that those with a simple nervous system use sleep for development or as a response to environmental stress.


However, in animals with complex nervous systems, such as humans, sleep is an everyday activity that is used to support cognitive functions.



Talking about their findings, Leonie Kirszenblat, a neuroscience researcher at the University of Queensland and the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post that while sleep and attention seem like opposite brain states, “they may actually arise from similar brain mechanisms that relate to ignoring the outside world."


"Sleep and attention may be two sides of the same coin. Both allow animals to selectively process some information, while ignoring most other sensory stimuli. More broadly, we tend to view sleep and wake as fundamentally different phenomena, but mechanistically they might be quite similar because both involve suppressing the outside world."


We doubt our little darlings will let us get a full night's sleep anytime soon, but at least we know why we had to read the sign at the school gate five times before actually understanding it!