What happens to the emotions, when we do not get enough sleep?

Bad mood, weakness, bruises under his eyes - we all know what happens to a man when he can not sleep ...

What happens to the emotions, when we do not get enough sleep?

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Apparently, in this state, the brain ceases to clearly distinguish that requires emotional reaction and what is not. Therefore, we often begin to overreact to everything that happens around us that even more exhausting.

Everyone knows that in order to clear thinking, we need to sleep, but the mechanisms of communication science is still not completely clear. Talma Hendler (Talma Hendler) from Tel Aviv University (Israel) tried to understand why lack of sleep leads to overly emotional reactions.

In her experiment, was attended by 18 volunteers. They spent the night without sleep, during which the researchers tested repeatedly, how much participants sleepy: it is not surprising that more and more of them want to sleep over time.

Subjects were twice brain tomography scan using - once after a full night's sleep, and the second - after 24 hours of wakefulness. During scanning, the volunteers were performed task, e.g., they were required to determine which direction to move the yellow dots on the screen. At this point we are moving on a different background images, some of which could be attributed to the good (kittens couples) part to disagreeable (mutilated body, snakes), and the others - to the neutral (cow or spoon). When the subjects performed the task after a night's sleep, they quickly identify the direction of motion of points on the background of emotionally neutral images. But after a sleepless night the results were equally bad, no matter whether the background image of a neutral or emotionally charged.

Perhaps it is that lack of sleep has a negative impact on all aspects of the brain, but there is another version. It is possible that sleep deprived brain starts to react emotionally and neutral stimuli.

To get a more detailed picture, a group of researchers led by Talma Hendler conducted another experiment. At this time, they used a functional magnetic resonance imaging, which can be used to evaluate the activity of various brain areas.

Subjects during brain scan showed a similar image, and the result was the same - sleepy divert all images rested - only those which carry an "emotional charge".

In this case, it was discovered that the amygdala (a brain region associated with emotion) have a good sleep volunteers activated only when an emotionally charged images. Those who had been deprived of sleep, it just reacted and neutral pictures. The researchers also found unusual activity in brain areas tested, called the anterior cingulate cortex (as it is believed it regulates the activity of the amygdala and emotion). We slept enough volunteers, both areas of the brain are activated simultaneously. However, the sleep-deprived people as if they were out of sync - anterior cingulate cortex is often not activated during the activation of the amygdala. Apparently, this area of ​​the brain is not able to control our emotional reactions, if we have not enough sleep.

According Talma Hendler, these experiments show that as a result of lack of sleep we start too emotionally respond to the most common everyday situations. "The brain loses its ability to distinguish between the important and the insignificant, as if everything becomes important for him," - she said.

See. E. Simon et al. "Losing neutrality: The neural basis of impaired emotional control without sleep", The Journal of Neuroscience, September 2015.