Sleepless nights 'can lead to addictive behaviour'

Missing a night's sleep can lead to short-term euphoria and has the potential to result in addictive behaviour and poor judgement, it has been found.

Researchers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley and Harvard Medical School showed that healthy young adults who 'pull an all-nighter' experience a significant boost to their pleasure circuitry.

Investigators said the finding is a lesser-known side effect than the usual association between a sleepless night and feeling moody and cranky.

The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience and its lead author and Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley Matthew Walker said: "The sleep-deprived brain will swing to both extremes, neither of which is optimal for making wise decisions."

Professor Walker noted the findings suggest people in high-stakes professions should make sure they always get a good night's rest.

Speaking recently to the Herald, Chartered Psychologist and Fellow of the British Psychological Society Professor Colin Espie claimed the importance of gaining adequate sleep every night has not entered public awareness to the level it should have.