Research Topic

The Interplay Between Sleep and Emotion: What Role Do Cognitive Processes Play?

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In recent years, several studies have shown that sleep quality plays a key role in memory and emotional processing but why do we sleep remains an elusive question. Several electrophysiological features of sleep such as spindles and slow oscillations have been associated with memory consolidation and emotional ...

In recent years, several studies have shown that sleep quality plays a key role in memory and emotional processing but why do we sleep remains an elusive question. Several electrophysiological features of sleep such as spindles and slow oscillations have been associated with memory consolidation and emotional regulation. However, to date, the specific mechanisms underlying sleep-related memory and emotional processes remain partially unknown and studies often report contradictory results.

Moreover, a growing body of literature suggests that lack of sleep, or insomnia, are associated with emotion dysregulation and cognitive dysfunctions and that insomnia is also often associated with other mental disorders and may be considered a transdiagnostic risk factor. At the same time, the ability to adaptively regulate emotions is crucial for healthy functioning and the dysregulation of negative affect has related to psychopathology. But the pathways leading from lack of sleep to psychopathology are still unclear and hyperarousal, and the difficulty in regulating negative emotions, may play an important role. Also, the relationship between sleep quality/quantity and emotional regulation may be bidirectional and cognitive processes (such as executive functions) may interact with sleep and emotion regulation. Finally, the effect of treatments targeting either sleep, cognition or emotional impairments on the other processes remains largely unexplored. Therefore, on the one hand, it is important to understand how does the sleeping brain process, to reorganize, and store neutral and emotional information, and, on the other hand, it is fundamental to understand how sleep, cognition, and emotion interact among both healthy and clinical populations.

The goal of this Research Topic is to collect contributions of different research groups investigating the relationship between sleep and cognitive and emotional processing in healthy and clinical populations, discussing the most advanced development in the field from different perspectives (e.g. neurophysiological, behavioral, clinical) and using multiple research paradigms. We, therefore, welcome empirical, methodological and theoretical work involving both clinical and healthy populations which can advance understandings of the relationship between sleep and cognitive and emotional processing particularly to shed light on their reciprocal influences. Review of the literature and animal studies are also welcome.


Keywords: Sleep, cognition, memory, attention, executive functions, emotions, emotion regulation


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