Even when you’ve had a nice day, do you ever feel like you’re suffocating at midnight from the uncontrollable rush of ideas and the universe is imploding as you lay your head on the pillow and stare wide awake at the ceiling?
If so, don’t assume you’re crazy.
The “Mind After Midnight” concept, put out by recent research and published in Frontiers in Network Physiology, contends that, while alert after midnight, the human mind is more prone to damaging thoughts and conduct.
The study found that it was previously widely accepted that sleep loss, or sleep deprivation characterized by nocturnal arousal, resulted in cognitive and behavioral dysregulation and altered how our brains worked the day before. Recent research has shown that staying up past midnight causes changes in cognition and behavior, though.
It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint that humans were more successful hunters during the day than at night. While it was preferable to slumber at night. However, it was inevitable to be afraid of the possibility of being hunted at night, which is what experts attribute to the increased negative inputs at that time of day, according to Science Alert.
According to Harvard University neurologist Elizabeth Klerman, “there are millions of people who are awake in the middle of the night, and there is quite solid evidence that their brain is not operating as well as it does during the day.”
“I beg for further research to look at that since it affects both their health and safety and the safety of others,”
According to Klerman, the circadian rhythm’s influence on brain activity shifts over a day, changing how we interpret our experiences and react to the outside environment.
The circadian influence peaks in the morning and is at its lowest at night, so we get to respond more positively during the day than we do at night.
Additionally, dopamine production increases at night, which alters our reward and motivational systems and may lead us to participate in risky conduct, according to Klerman.
At night, one is more sensitive to upsetting stimuli
The study’s authors offer two instances to support their argument. One is a heroin addict who can’t help giving in to their desires at night while doing better at controlling them during the day. The other is a college student with insomnia who, as the situation worsens, begins to feel hopeless and lonely.
“The fundamental premise is that your internal biological circadian clock is set towards mechanisms that favor sleep, not wakefulness, after midnight, from a high level, global, evolutionary standpoint,” continues Klerman.
According to the study, nighttime is also associated with an increase in impulsive and maladaptive behaviors like self-harm or suicide, violent crime, alcohol or another drug usage, and food consumption.
For instance, the study draws from a 2016 study that found that the risk of suicide was three times higher between midnight and six in the morning than at any other time of day.