Uninterrupted sleep has been associated with improved mental and physical well-being, while sleep deprivation is linked to chronic health problems. But, do you know that a night without sleep may sometimes help with depression? Yes, you heard it right. A new study has found that one night of total sleep deprivation may help enhance mood in some healthy, as well as depressed people.
In the latest study, researchers from Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, found that after a night of total sleep deprivation, the amygdala, the pivotal region in the brain affected by depression, showed increased connectivity to the anterior cingulate cortex, the brain area associated with emotional expression, awareness, pain management and attention allocation. The team found that an enhanced amygdala-cingulate circuit helps in bad mood regulation in both healthy and clinical populations.
“Here, we show that one night of total sleep deprivation enhanced amygdala connectivity to the anterior cingulate cortex which correlated with better mood in both healthy and depressed individuals. This study highlights the key role of the amygdala-cingulate circuits in bad mood regulation in both healthy and clinical populations. Our findings might have implications for the development of fast and unique antidepressant interventions,” the researchers wrote.
The sleep deprivation study was conducted over five consecutive days in a group of participants consisting of 38 healthy individuals and 30 patients with major depressive disorder, along with 16 participants who were allowed uninterrupted sleep. After a night without sleep, the participants underwent rs-fMRI scanning sessions to measure the functional architecture of the brain. They were then allowed to have two nights of restful sleep and the scans were repeated.
Most of the participants showed a worsening mood immediately after the missed night’s sleep. However, 43% of the depressed participants experienced mood improvement while the remaining experienced a mood worsening or no change.
After one night of restful sleep, 20 participants with major depressive disorders showed mood improvement, while the remaining participants experienced either mood worsening or no change.
Researchers also found that the healthy participants had enhanced amygdala and DN (dorsal nexus) related connectivity. The study highlights the importance of the amygdala-cingulate circuit in treating depression, offering potential targets for antidepressant interventions.
“These findings support the key role of the amygdala–cingulate circuit in mood regulation in both healthy and depressed populations and suggest that rapid antidepressant treatment may target the enhancement of amygdala–ACC connectivity,” the researchers said.
Published by Medicaldaily.com