Anyone who has muddled through the day after a poor night’s sleep knows why sleep is essential. From difficulty concentrating, to lower productivity, to decreased mood-lack of sleep has numerous negative consequences.
Wayne State University medical student Aneesh Hehr has recently published a paper that details exactly how sleep duration impacts children and adolescents. The paper, “Effects of duration and midpoint of sleep on cortico-limbic circuitry in youth” was based on research conducted in Dr. Hilary Marusak’s lab at Wayne State.
They had over 60 children complete a sleep journal on Friday and Saturday and then completed a 10 minute resting Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a procedure that measures small changes in the blood flow of the brain, indicating brain activity, on Sunday.
“We found significant associations between sleep duration, midpoint of sleep and connectivity between brain regions involved in emotion regulation. For example, shorter sleep duration was associated with reduced connectivity between the amygdala and ventral anterior cingulate cortex.”Aneesh Hehr in Wayne State University News Online
The implications for this suggest that limited sleep duration has a negative impact on mood and affect the following day adding more evidence to the importance of good sleep hygiene in youth and bolstering the claims for a later start time for adolescents.
To read the article on WSU News online, please click here.
Questions for Discussion
- What was the hypothesis the researchers were testing?
- What does an fMRI do?
- What were the results of the study?
- What are some implications of the study, according to the article?
- If you were to conduct additional studies, how might you further this research?