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  • So exactly, how does a lack of sleep impact our emotional brain?


  • Why does that lack of sleep make us so emotionally irrational and hyper-reactive?


  • Well, several years ago, we conducted a brain imaging study.


  • And we took a group of healthy adults.


  • And we either gave them a full night of sleep or we sleep-deprived them.


  • And then the next day, we placed them inside an MRI scanner, and we looked at how their emotional brain was reacting.


  • And we focused on one structure in particular, it's called the amygdala.


  • And the amygdala is one of the centerpiece regions for the generation of strong emotional reactions, including negative emotional reactions.


  • Now when we looked at those people who had a full night of sleep, what we saw was a nice, appropriate, moderate degree of reactivity from the amygdala.

    我們發現睡飽的那組人, 他們的杏仁核有良好、 適當且適度的反應。

  • It wasn't as though there was no response at all, but it was an appropriate response.

    它不是完全沒有反應, 但那是適當的反應。

  • Yet in those people who were sleep-deprived, that deep emotional brain center was in fact, hyperactive.


  • Indeed, the amygdala was almost 60 percent more responsive under conditions of a lack of sleep.


  • But why was that the case?


  • And what we went on to discover, is that there's another brain region that's involved.

    我們後來發現, 腦中還有另一個部位也受影響。

  • This brain region is called the prefrontal cortex, and it sits directly above your eyes.


  • And you can think of the prefrontal cortex almost like the CEO of your brain.


  • It's very good at making high-level, executive, top-down control decisions and reactions.


  • In fact, it's one of the most evolved regions of our brain.


  • And one of the parts of the brain that it controls is this deep emotional center, the amygdala.


  • Now in those people who had a full night of sleep, there was a nice, strong communication and connection between the prefrontal cortex, regulating that deep emotional brain center.


  • But in those people who were sleep-deprived, that communication, that connection between the prefrontal cortex and that deep amygdala emotional brain center had essentially been severed.

    但睡不飽的那群人, 前額葉皮質和深層情緒大腦中心杏仁核之間的溝通和連結,基本上被切斷了。

  • And as a consequence, the amygdala was responding far more reactively due to a lack of sleep.

    結果是杏仁核的反應過度, 而這是睡眠不足造成的。

  • It's almost as though without sleep we become all emotional accelerator pedal, and too little regulatory control brake.

    就好像沒有睡眠變成只剩情緒加速器, 而調節用的控制煞車則變少了。

  • And that seems to be the reason that we become so unbuckled in terms of our emotional integrity when we haven't been sleeping well.


  • So that's the bad that can happen if I take sleep away from you.

    如果我不讓你睡, 就會造成這種負面效果。因為我們晚上睡覺的時候,

  • But it turns out that there's something good that happens when you get your sleep back.


  • And sleep, particularly rapid eye movement sleep, actually offers a form of emotional first aid.


  • Because it's during sleep at night that we take these difficult emotional experiences that we've been having during the day,


  • and that sleep acts almost like a nocturnal soothing balm, taking the sharp edges off those difficult experiences.

    睡眠扮演的角色就像夜間舒緩膏, 撫平那些難受經驗的刺。

  • And so perhaps it's not time that heals all wounds, it's time during sleep that provides that form of emotional convalescence.


  • So that when we come back the next day, we're able to cope with those emotional memories.


So exactly, how does a lack of sleep impact our emotional brain?



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