Rewiring The Anxious Brain
While a full night of slumber stabilizes emotions, a sleepless night can trigger up to a 30% rise in anxiety levels, according to new research published recently in November 2019, from the University of California, Berkeley.
It claims that deep sleep is most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain, a state in which heart rates and blood pressure goes down.
William Shakespeare's Macbeth had it right when he referred to sleep as the "balm of hurt minds."
The neuroscience and psychology professors in the study said that deep sleep seems to be a natural, non-pharmaceutical anxiety inhibitor, so long as you get it each and every night. With insufficient sleep, it also increases the levels of anxiety.
After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of anxiety suppressor in the brain, while the brain’s deeper emotional centers were overactive. Without sleep, it’s like the brain is on the emotional accelerator pedal without brake. However, the effects were normalised after one gets a full night of sleep, with the deep sleep restoring the normal emotion regulations, lowering emotional reactivity to prevent escalation of anxiety.
People with anxiety disorders tend to have disturbed sleep, the study suggested that the bridge to lowering anxiety could be a good night of sleep!
(updated : January, 2020)
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Eti Ben Simon, Aubrey Rossi, Allison G. Harvey, Matthew P. Walker. Overanxious and underslept. Nature Human Behaviour, 2019.
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