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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Get Your Rest (Scientific American)

18 August 2023

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Scientific American title: Get Your Rest
By: Eti Ben Simon
Date: 15 August 2023

“In healthy individuals, good-quality sleep is linked with a more positive mood—and it takes just one night of sleep deprivation to trigger a robust spike in anxiety and depression the following morning. Moreover people who suffer from chronic sleep disruption tend to experience daily events as more negative, making it hard to escape a gloomy mindset.

How it works: Studies using MRI revealed that activity in the prefrontal cortex drops drastically with lack of sleep, as does the link between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. Neural impairment can occur after people experience just one night of sleep deprivation or routinely get less than six hours of sleep—or when participants’ sleep is restricted to only four hours a night for five nights. As a result, the threshold for what the brain deems emotional becomes significantly lower when the amygdala can not act in concert with the prefrontal cortex.

What the experts say: “Our societies should critically examine structures—such as work norms, school cultures and the lack of support for parents or other caregivers—that prevent people from getting enough rest,” writes Eti Ben Simon, a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. (I say, 10 p.m. bedtimes, everyone!)


Source:
Scientific American, 15 August 2023: Why Just One Sleepless Night Makes People Emotionally Fragile

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