econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 27 October 2016

How A Lack Of Sleep Affects Your Brain - And Personality

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Jakke Tamminen, Royal Holloway

In 1959, Peter Tripp, a popular New York DJ, pledged to stay awake for 200 hours for charity while continuing to host his radio show.

Studies into sleep deprivation were rare at the time so no one knew what to expect. This made it a major event, not only for Tripp’s millions of listeners, but also for the scientific community.

The subsequent impact of the “wakeathon" on Tripp’s mind was far more dramatic than anyone had expected. The personality of a man normally described as cheerful and upbeat appeared to significantly change as time went by. By the third day he had become highly irritable, cursing and insulting even his closest friends. Towards the end of his endeavour, he began to hallucinate and exhibit paranoid behaviours.

But despite the concerns of the doctors monitoring him (and with the help of the stimulants they gave him), he persisted and finally went to bed after 201 hours of continuous wake time.

Modern laboratory studies have replicated some of the behaviours seen in Tripp as a consequence of sleep loss. Sleep deprivation or prolonged restricted sleep results in increasing irritability, worsening mood, and feelings of depression, anger, and anxiety. Some argue that sleep loss leads to heightened emotional reactivity.

Tired and emotional

Much like Tripp, who lashed out at his friends at the smallest inconvenience, sleep deprived participants in one study experienced greater stress and anger than rested control participants when asked to complete a simple cognitive test.

Brain imaging methods reveal why sleep deprivation can lead to irrational emotional responses. The amygdala, an area deep in the brain, is our emotional control centre. When sleep-deprived participants were shown emotionally negative images, activity levels in the amygdala were as much as 60% higher than levels in those who were rested.

Dream machine. Shutterstock

The researchers also looked at how different brain areas were connected in these participants. They found that sleep deprivation had disrupted the connection between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex. This was a critical insight as the medial prefrontal cortex itself regulates amygdala function. Sleep deprivation appears to cause the amygdala to overreact to negative stimuli because it becomes disconnected from brain areas that normally moderate its response.

Sleepless in Las Vegas

Casino owners have known for years that tired gamblers make risky decisions. The bright lights, noise, and lack of windows are designed to stop you from noticing the passage of time.

In 2011, researchers at Duke University asked participants in a gambling experiment to improve each of several gambles. They could choose to do this by increasing the size of the highest possible gain, decreasing the size of the worst loss, or improving the probability of winning. When participants had been deprived of sleep for just one night, they started do make fewer decisions that avoided loss, and more decisions that maximized potential gain. In other words, sleep deprivation made their gambles riskier and more optimistic. This change in risk-taking behavior was accompanied by changes in activity in brain areas that evaluate negative and positive outcomes.

Sleeping to learn

Another area of the brain that suffers dramatically from sleep deprivation is the hippocampus. This is a region critical for the storing of new memories. When people are deprived of sleep for even one night, their ability to memorize new information drops significantly. This was shown in one study to be due to an impairment in the hippocampus caused by sleep deprivation. When memorizing a set of pictures, sleep-deprived participants showed less activation in the hippocampus compared to rested participants. This deficit in the hippocampus could be caused by sleep deprivation reducing its ability to write in new information.

Conserving brain power. Shutterstock

Alternatively, the hippocampus may need sleep to move new information to be stored in other areas of the brain. In this case, lack of sleep may cause the storage capacity of hippocampus to fill up, preventing new information from being stored.

Lessons from the wakeathon

The story of Tripp has an unhappy ending. Shortly after his wakeathon his marriage broke down, and he eventually lost his job and career in radio. In 1964 his record was broken by Randy Gardner, a high school student from San Diego, who managed to remain awake for 264 hours.

Tripp’s later troubles however are unlikely to be connected to his sleep deprivation as Gardner and others who later tried to beat the record did not report similar long-term detrimental effects. Nonetheless, there are lessons to be learned from Tripp’s experience and from the latest discoveries in sleep science.

Many people aren’t getting enough sleep as people sacrifice rest time to work, especially on devices which emit blue light. This light makes falling asleep more difficult, further eroding the quantity and quality of sleep.

We need to rediscover the value of sleep and appreciate the benefits it brings to our brains. Time spent sleeping is an essential investment towards being smarter, making better decisions, and leading a happier life. So get snoozing.

The ConversationJakke Tamminen, Lecturer, Royal Holloway

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Contributors


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Joan Robinson’s Critique of Marginal Utility Theory
The Truth About Trade Agreements - and Why We Need Them
News Blog
Five Mysterious Space Diseases That Could Kill Astronauts Before They Get To Mars
03 December 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Insignificantly Worsens
November 2016 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Down by 3 Percent in the First Two Months of Fiscal Year 2017
Putting Grassroots Terrorism In The Proper Perspective
Crude Oil Prices: "Random"? Hardly. The More Emotional The Market, The More Predictable It Is.
Infographic Of The Day: Job-Hopping
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Up, Oil Firms, Russia's Big Oil Deal, Trump Will Stay In Business, Trump Menaces Drug Cos, Banks Rig Silver, Italy's 360B NPL, Iraq Has Oil Cut Problem, China Trade Improves And More
Goals Come With A Hefty Price Tag At The Emirates
Facebook Strongest On Home Ground
Defence Budgets Are Surging In The Baltic States
It's Been A Turbulent Start, But Juno Is Now Delivering Spectacular Insights Into Jupiter
The World's Most Reputable Cities
What We Read Today 07 December 2016
Investing Blog
Trumpsternomics And Economic Growth
The Real 401k Plan Manager 07 May 2016
Opinion Blog
Italy Confronts The European Elite
The US Government Needs To Spend More
Precious Metals Blog
Silver Prices Rebounded Today: Where They Are Headed
Live Markets
08Dec2016 Pre-Market Commentary: Trump Rally Powers On, WTI Crude Prices Holding At $50 Handle, US Dollar Sharply Higher And Volatile, Short-term Indicators Bullish
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved