Do you know exactly how insomnia affects anxiety? A recent study makes it more clear.
Although scientists have repeatedly proved the connection between insomnia and anxiety, the mechanisms of the influence of one on the other were not completely clear.
A new study, led by the professor of neurobiology and psychology, Matthew Walker from the University of California at Berkeley, helps to figure this out. The results were published in the scientific journal Nature Human Behavior.
How insomnia affects anxiety according to science?
Experts measured brain activity to understand the effect of various stages of sleep (or lack of it) on anxiety.
Eighteen people participated in the first part of the study: some had to spend a sleepless night, while others slept as usual. After that, the participants watched some troubling videos.
It turned out that in people who did not sleep all night, the activity of the medial prefrontal cortex decreased. Earlier, researchers found out that this area of the brain reduces anxiety and stress.
So, the level of anxiety in those who spent a sleepless night increased by 30%.
Meanwhile, the study also showed a decrease in anxiety in people who slept all night. In this case, an increased activity of the prefrontal cortex was restored by sleep in the slow phase.
Other details of the study
To test their findings, scientists conducted another series of experiments, inviting thirty people to participate. The study confirmed that people who had a prolonged phase of slow sleep experienced less anxiety the next day.
In addition, experts conducted an online survey which involved 280 respondents. They had to talk about the quality and quantity of sleep, and their condition after. The results of the survey also confirmed the connection between poor sleep and increased anxiety.
By the way, if you suffer from sleeping problems, you might try special medicines to fix the issue.