Less sleep, more anxiety

Link to article

Losing sleep can cause stress in your brain. This study was conducted at the University of California, Berkeley. Sleep experts, Eti Ben Simon and Matthew Walker, asked 18 healthy adults to come to their lab to sleep over until the morning. Simon and Matthew were testing their stress due to lack of sleep. The volunteers either got an ordinary night of sleep or they stayed up the whole entire night. When everyone woke up, they all took a quiz to determine signs of stress. To help gather the facts of the test, Simon and Matthew used the brain MRIs to track the stress levels. While this was going on, the volunteers watched these levels closely. Subsequently, the people who got no sleep and the people who got a normal night of sleep alternated. When it was morning, the results showed the anxiety levels of all the adults. By showing the results, the “somnologists” (sleep doctors or experts) could tell how much sleep he/she received that night. A mostly awake night or fully awake night of sleep changed the adults’ brains’ patterns of activity. Staying up made anxiety levels 30% higher than the people who got an average night of sleep. Parts of the volunteers’ brains were more active when watching emotional videos, and the prefrontal cortex activity, which can stop anxiety, was surprisingly lower than usual. These results indicate that both people who have trouble with their anxiety have a hard time sleeping, and people who have trouble sleeping have additional anxiety. These results were presented at a Society of Neuroscience meeting on November 4, 2018. Clifford Saper, working at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, calls the results a “two-way interaction.” Even though he wasn’t part of the study, he states, “Sleep loss makes the anxiety worse, which in turn makes it harder to sleep.”

This article informs and encourages people to get more sleep. This changes how we before looked at information because we used to only know that sleep was needed in the growth of children and restorative energy for both kids and adults, but now we know what is being caused by all the lack of sleep. I chose this article because my mom keeps saying that I need to go to bed 1 ½ or 2 hours earlier than people in my class, and she keeps sending me emails about “children with non-regular bedtimes.” This relates to a previous essay I made about how screen time affects kids’ learning. This relates because they both have to do with the brain and how it affects your life.

By Owen 4M

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