Sleep and Affective Brain Regulation

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Sleep and Affective Brain Regulation

Els van der Helm and Matthew P. Walker


Rapidly emerging evidence continues to describe an intimate and causal relationship between sleep and affective brain regulation. These findings are mirrored by long-standing clinical observations demonstrating that nearly all mood and anxiety disorders co-occur with one or more abnormalities of sleep. This review aims to (1) provide a synthesis of recent human evidence describing affective brain and behavioral benefits of sleep when it is obtained, and conversely, detrimental impairments following a lack thereof, (2) set forth a rapid eye movement sleep hypothesis of affective brain homeostasis, optimally preparing the organism for next-day social and emotional functioning, and (3) outline how this model may explain the prevalent relationships observed between sleep and affective disorders, including relevant treatment mechanisms, with a particular focus on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


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