Author(s): Cai ZJ
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Abstract Various studies suggest that some sleep functions, especially some slow wave sleep functions, are indispensable in mammals and related to brain regulation. It has been proposed that two of these functions are the adjustment of emotional balance and the processing of acquired emotional memories. During waking, the gradual accumulation of various randomly learned emotional memories in the limbic structures would inevitably imbalance and disorganize emotional behaviors. Although the emotional balance can be restored during waking by the ascending NA, DA, ACh and 5-HT systems, their roles in memory retention and emotional regulation may sometimes be dissociated and their adjustment of the emotional balance can only be a transient effect. On the other hand, the function of slow wave sleep for emotional adjustment can be long-lasting and is in agreement with its function on the processing of emotional memories. As a result, these sleep functions become indispensable in preventing the emotional imbalance inevitably caused by the accumulation of emotional memories. The effects of rapid eye movement sleep on memory and emotional regulation are just opposite to those of slow wave sleep. Low vigilance is required as premise for sleep to accomplish these indispensable functions.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Sleep Disorders & Therapy