Research Topic

How Does Sleep Help Regulate Negative Emotion?

About this Research Topic

Sleep is generally believed to help regulate our emotions and, in particular, our negative emotions. “Sleeping on it” when upset is common advice given by providers, parents, friends and pop songs. However, it is only beginning to be understood how this is accomplished by the unique central and peripheral physiology of sleep, and the psychology of the wide variety of mental states during sleep from oblivious unconsciousness to the most life-like dreaming. This Research Topic seeks to explore these mechanisms at multiple levels of organization from gene expression to the complexities of human memory systems and any intervening biological or psychological processes. This Research Topic aims to be inclusive of diverse perspectives from basic affective neuroscience to the effects of sleep on the development and persistence of mood and anxiety disorders.



The affective neuroscience, psychology and biological psychiatry of sleep and emotion regulation is an important field still in early stages of development. As such, investigatory teams tend to still be relatively “siloed” within and between different disciplines in psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry. The aim of this Research Topic is to begin to synthesize understanding and broaden perspectives on the regulatory effects of healthy sleep on the human experiences of well-being or distress. 


Submissions to this Research Topic can include original research articles, reviews of the current state-of-the-art in areas listed below or others, and opinion pieces that address controversies in the areas of sleep and emotion regulation or that suggest topics in need of greater research focus. Articles dealing with basic and clinical aspects of affective neuroscience and sleep are welcome. 


Articles should focus on potential regulatory effects of sleep on aversive experience (e.g., nociception, inflammation), negative emotion (e.g., fear, anxiety), and affective psychopathology (e.g., anxiety and mood disorders). However, more general topics that have implications for negatively valenced experiences are also welcomed including behavioral sleep medicine, interoception, stress systems, synaptic homeostasis, reward deficiencies, posttraumatic growth, etc.


Just a few of many perspectives and research foci that might address this topic include:



• Sleep effects on emotion via gene expression, neural signaling, second messenger cascades, synaptic housekeeping and neuroplasticity

• Emotions studied via the electrophysiology and interactions of sleep oscillations

• Immune processes including inflammation and the gut microbiome

• Chronic pain and nociception

• Neuroimaging of emotional expression and regulation by large-scale brain networks

• Sleep’s influence on emotional memory traces from the most basic processes (e.g., fear conditioning) to interactions of emotional salience and sleep affecting high-level declarative memory processing and systems consolidation of memory

• Effects of sleep on mood and anxiety disorder risk, development and treatment

• Novel approaches to manipulating sleep toward therapeutic ends such as targeted memory reactivation, neuromodulation (e.g., TMS), dream manipulations (e.g. imagery rehearsal, lucidity, thematic induction).  


Keywords: Sleep, Emotion Regulation, Memory, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Sleep is generally believed to help regulate our emotions and, in particular, our negative emotions. “Sleeping on it” when upset is common advice given by providers, parents, friends and pop songs. However, it is only beginning to be understood how this is accomplished by the unique central and peripheral physiology of sleep, and the psychology of the wide variety of mental states during sleep from oblivious unconsciousness to the most life-like dreaming. This Research Topic seeks to explore these mechanisms at multiple levels of organization from gene expression to the complexities of human memory systems and any intervening biological or psychological processes. This Research Topic aims to be inclusive of diverse perspectives from basic affective neuroscience to the effects of sleep on the development and persistence of mood and anxiety disorders.



The affective neuroscience, psychology and biological psychiatry of sleep and emotion regulation is an important field still in early stages of development. As such, investigatory teams tend to still be relatively “siloed” within and between different disciplines in psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry. The aim of this Research Topic is to begin to synthesize understanding and broaden perspectives on the regulatory effects of healthy sleep on the human experiences of well-being or distress. 


Submissions to this Research Topic can include original research articles, reviews of the current state-of-the-art in areas listed below or others, and opinion pieces that address controversies in the areas of sleep and emotion regulation or that suggest topics in need of greater research focus. Articles dealing with basic and clinical aspects of affective neuroscience and sleep are welcome. 


Articles should focus on potential regulatory effects of sleep on aversive experience (e.g., nociception, inflammation), negative emotion (e.g., fear, anxiety), and affective psychopathology (e.g., anxiety and mood disorders). However, more general topics that have implications for negatively valenced experiences are also welcomed including behavioral sleep medicine, interoception, stress systems, synaptic homeostasis, reward deficiencies, posttraumatic growth, etc.


Just a few of many perspectives and research foci that might address this topic include:



• Sleep effects on emotion via gene expression, neural signaling, second messenger cascades, synaptic housekeeping and neuroplasticity

• Emotions studied via the electrophysiology and interactions of sleep oscillations

• Immune processes including inflammation and the gut microbiome

• Chronic pain and nociception

• Neuroimaging of emotional expression and regulation by large-scale brain networks

• Sleep’s influence on emotional memory traces from the most basic processes (e.g., fear conditioning) to interactions of emotional salience and sleep affecting high-level declarative memory processing and systems consolidation of memory

• Effects of sleep on mood and anxiety disorder risk, development and treatment

• Novel approaches to manipulating sleep toward therapeutic ends such as targeted memory reactivation, neuromodulation (e.g., TMS), dream manipulations (e.g. imagery rehearsal, lucidity, thematic induction).  


Keywords: Sleep, Emotion Regulation, Memory, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Abstract
28 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Abstract
28 February 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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