Cat Sleep To Prevent The Loss Of Rational Control

Sleep To Prevent The Loss Of Rational Control

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In Why We Sleep, Dr. Mathew Walker tells us:

Analysis of the brain scans revealed the largest effects I have measured in my research to date. A structure located in the left and right sides of the brain, called the amygdala—a key hot spot for triggering strong emotions such as anger and rage, and linked to the fight-or-flight response—showed well over a 60 percent amplification in emotional reactivity in the participants who were sleep-deprived… It was as though, without sleep, our brain reverts to a primitive pattern of uncontrolled reactivity. We produce unmetered, inappropriate emotional reactions, and are unable to place events into a broader or considered context. After a full night of sleep, the prefrontal cortex—the region of the brain that sits just above your eyeballs; is most developed in humans, relative to other primates; and is associated with rational, logical thought and decision-making—was strongly coupled to the amygdala, regulating this deep emotional brain center with inhibitory control. With a full night of plentiful sleep, we have a balanced mix between our emotional gas pedal (amygdala) and brake (prefrontal cortex). Without sleep, however, the strong coupling between these two brain regions is lost. We cannot rein in our atavistic impulses—too much emotional gas pedal (amygdala) and not enough regulatory brake (prefrontal cortex)… We discovered that different deep emotional centers in the brain just above and behind the amygdala, called the striatum—associated with impulsivity and reward, and bathed by the chemical dopamine—had become hyperactive in sleep-deprived individuals in response to the rewarding, pleasurable experiences. As with the amygdala, the heightened sensitivity of these hedonic regions was linked to a loss of the rational control from the prefrontal cortex.”

So, if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your ability to control and regulate your emotions can be diminished by 60% or more. Therefore, you will not be capable of showing up as the best version of yourself.

It took me 35+ years to realize how impactful sleep was in regulating my emotions. There is me with sleep and me without sleep. You don’t want to be around the sleep-deprived version of me. Therefore, sleep is my #1 self-care habit.

If I don’t get a quality night of sleep, which is 7+ hours, for some reason, the next day, I honor all of my best sleep behaviors, like a caffeine curfew 9 hours before bed, a stress curfew 3 hours before bed, a digital sunset 1 hour before bed, lowering the temperature, and playing white noise.