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Title: Sleep and sleep timing in relation to light and emotional processing
Author: Porcheret, Kate L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 5478
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Sleep is a complex process: the timing of sleep is regulated by two systems (the sleep homeostat and the circadian clock) and there are many potential functions of sleep. The aim of this thesis was to investigate: the impact of light on the regulation of sleep timing (study 1) and the role of sleep in emotional processing (study 2). Study 1 used natural variations in environmental light levels at different geographical locations, to examine the influence of daily light irradiance on sleep timing and chronotype using the Munich chronotype questionnaire (MCTQ). 6443 students were included in this study from six universities from the northern and southern hemispheres. Students in southern hemisphere cities had earlier sleep timings than those in the northern cities. Daily irradiance was higher in the southern hemisphere cities. The amount of time spent outside, age and sex, but not daily irradiance, influenced sleep timings. Study 2 explored the impact of an analogue traumatic event (trauma film) in students who were either sleep deprived or not sleep deprived on intrusive memories ("flashbacks"), sleep physiology and the impact of an increased risk of a mood disorder on this relationship. In this study the sleep deprived participants (n=19) reported fewer intrusive memories to the trauma film than those not sleep deprived (n=22). A change in sleep physiology was observed in the first sleep period following the trauma film, which was more pronounced in the sleep deprived group: increased levels of arousal, REM density and activity in the occipital region. Only three participants at-risk of a mood disorder completed study 2: their data are presented as case studies. In conclusion this research has demonstrated that differences in sleep timings exist between cities in the southern and northern hemispheres and has confirmed that many factors can influence sleep timing. It has also been demonstrated that following a highly emotional event not sleeping may have a beneficial effect, which has implications for the treatment of people after trauma.
Supervisor: Foster, Russell Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Neuropsychology ; Emotion research ; Behavioural Neuroscience ; Emotion ; Experimental psychology ; Memory ; sleep ; chronotype ; sleep deprivation ; intrusive memories