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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: September 2011

34 - The role of REM sleep in emotional brain processing

from Section V - Functional significance



Cognitive neuroscience continues to build meaningful connections between affective behavior and human brain function. Within the biological sciences, a similar renaissance has taken place, focusing on the role of sleep in various neurocognitive processes and, most recently, the interaction between sleep and emotional regulation. In this chapter, I survey an array of diverse findings across basic and clinical research domains, resulting in a convergent view of sleep-dependent emotional brain processing. Based on the unique neurobiology of sleep, I outline a model describing the overnight modulation of affective neural systems and the (re)processing of recent emotional experiences, both of which appear to redress the appropriate next-day reactivity of limbic and associated autonomic networks. Furthermore, an REM sleep hypothesis of emotional-memory processing is proposed, the implications of which may provide brain-based insights into the association between sleep abnormalities and the initiation and maintenance of mood disturbances.

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