ScienceDaily (Mar. 25, 2011) — Pulling an All-Nighter Can Bring on Euphoria and Risky Behavior
A sleepless night can make us cranky and moody. But a lesser known side effect of sleep deprivation is short-term euphoria, which can potentially lead to poor judgment and addictive behavior, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.
Researchers at UC Berkeley and Harvard Medical School studied the brains of healthy young adults and found that their pleasure circuitry got a big boost after a missed night’s sleep. But that same neural pathway that stimulates feelings of euphoria, reward and motivation after a sleepless night may also lead to risky behavior, their study suggests.
“When functioning correctly, the brain finds the sweet spot on the mood spectrum. But the sleep-deprived brain will swing to both extremes, neither of which is optimal for making wise decisions,” said Matthew Walker, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and lead author of the study.
The findings, published March 22, in the Journal of Neuroscience, underscore the need for people in high-stakes professions and circumstances not to shortchange themselves on sleep, Walker said.
(See the original article here)
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