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Tuesday, 3rd July 2012
In General Japan News,

Japanese scientists find link between sleep and mental agility

People who do not get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from anxiety and irritation, according to scientists in Japan.

Following a trial at the National Centre of Neurology and Psychiatry, researchers found that our brains lose their mental agility and become more susceptible to provocation if we have not had enough sleep, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The study, which was led by Dr Kazuo Mishima, examined 14 men between the ages of 20 and 31.

For five days the participants were allowed to sleep for just four hours, followed by another five days during which they slept for eight hours. During each period the men had their brain activity measured through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Researchers found that after four hours of sleep there was a much bigger response to images depicting fear in their amygdala – an area of the brain linked to emotion – than after eight hours of sleep.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Mishima told the news provider: "There is serious sleep shortage among the working population, especially among women. It is important to get a sufficient amount of sleep to stay mentally fit."

Last month, it was reported that scientists in Japan had made a major breakthrough by using stem cells to grow working human liver tissue.

Written by Graham McPherson