• Sex hormones play a role in vulnerability to sleep loss on emotion processing tasks

      Lustig, K. A.; Stoakley, E. M.; MacDonald, K. J.; Geniole, S. N.; McCormick, C. M.; Cote, K. A. (Elsevier, 2017-10-06)
      The central aim of this study was to investigate hormones as a predictor of individual vulnerability or resiliency on emotion processing tasks following one night of sleep restriction. The restriction group was instructed to sleep 3 a.m.–7 a.m. (13 men, 13 women in follicular phase, 10 women in luteal phase of menstrual cycle), and a control group slept 11 p.m.–7 a.m. (12 men, 12 follicular women, 12 luteal women). Sleep from home was verified with actigraphy. Saliva samples were collected on the evening prior to restriction, and in the morning and afternoon following restriction, to measure testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone. In the laboratory, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded during presentation of images and faces to index neural processing of emotional stimuli. Compared to controls, sleep-restricted participants had a larger amplitude Late Positive Potential (LPP) ERP to positive vs neutral images, reflecting greater motivated attention towards positive stimuli. Sleep-restricted participants were also less accurate categorizing sad faces and exhibited a larger N170 to sad faces, reflecting greater neural reactivity. Sleep-restricted luteal women were less accurate categorizing all images compared to control luteal women, and progesterone was related to several outcomes. Morning testos- terone in men was lower in the sleep-restricted group compared to controls; lower testosterone was associated with lower accuracy to positive images, a greater difference between positive vs neutral LPP amplitude, and lower accuracy to sad and fearful faces. In summary, women higher in progesterone and men lower in testos- terone were more vulnerable to the effects of sleep restriction on emotion processing tasks. This study highlights a role for sex and sex hormones in understanding individual differences in vulnerability to sleep loss.