Sleep deprivation compromises resting‐state emotional regulatory processes: An EEG study

Jinxiao ZHANG, Esther Yuet Ying LAU, Janet H. HSIAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Resting‐state spontaneous neural activities consume far more biological energy than stimulus‐induced activities, suggesting their significance. However, existing studies of sleep loss and emotional functioning have focused on how sleep deprivation modulates stimulus‐induced emotional neural activities. The current study aimed to investigate the impacts of sleep deprivation on the brain network of emotional functioning using electroencephalogram during a resting state. Two established resting‐state electroencephalogram indexes (i.e. frontal alpha asymmetry and frontal theta/beta ratio) were used to reflect the functioning of the emotion regulatory neural network. Participants completed an 8‐min resting‐state electroencephalogram recording after a well‐rested night or 24 hr sleep deprivation. The Sleep Deprivation group had a heightened ratio of the power density in theta band to beta band (theta/beta ratio) in the frontal area than the Sleep Control group, suggesting an effective approach with reduced frontal cortical regulation of subcortical drive after sleep deprivation. There was also marginally more left‐lateralized frontal alpha power (left frontal alpha asymmetry) in the Sleep Deprivation group compared with the Sleep Control group. Besides, higher theta/beta ratio and more left alpha lateralization were correlated with higher sleepiness and lower vigilance. The results converged in suggesting compromised emotional regulatory processes during resting state after sleep deprivation. Our work provided the first resting‐state neural evidence for compromised emotional functioning after sleep loss, highlighting the significance of examining resting‐state neural activities within the affective brain network as a default functional mode in investigating the sleep–emotion relationship. Copyright © 2018 European Sleep Research Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12671
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


Zhang, J., Lau, E. Y. Y., & Hsiao, J. H. (2019). Sleep deprivation compromises resting‐state emotional regulatory processes: An EEG study. Journal of Sleep Research, 28(3). Retrieved from


  • Alpha asymmetry
  • Emotion regulation
  • Resting-state EEG
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Theta/beta ratio


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