BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new study warns a lack of sleep can damage the brain – specifically, what doctors call the “white matter” in the brain.

A lot of people try to play catch up on the weekends to make up for the weeknights when they get behind.

A small study in China links insomnia with abnormalities in the brain’s white matter. Those are the tissues that form connections and carry information between different parts of the brain.

Later in life, this could impact how well your brain regulates sleep. It could also affect cognitive function.

Researchers compared two-dozen patients with primary insomnia to 30 healthy volunteers.

The team’s findings suggest long-term insomnia could accompany other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Those who had more severe cases of insomnia had the most severe brain impact.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic responded to the study. They say our brains constantly change to create new connections and overcome challenges. It is unclear if treating insomnia would restore lost connections.