The “Midnight Human Mind” Hypothesis

joanna fields 11 Ago. 4 min
human mind
Our mind and the way we see the world can change substantially after midnight.

The invention of light allowed man to conquer a territory that is not favorable to him, that of the darkness of the night. The organism of our species is adapted to live under the protection of light. However, the night is already a populated space. We live awake past midnight, but, according to an article published in Frontiers in Network Physiology, from that moment the brain is transformed.

The midnight mental hypothesis

The hypothesis suggests that the human mind becomes more susceptible to negative thoughts and destructive behavior after midnight if it is alert. Changes in cognition and behavior occur, altering reward processing, impulse control and information processing.

Suicides, violent behavior and addictions

For example, Michael L. Perlis, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and co-author of the hypothesis Mind After Midnightfound that if you adjust for the number of people who are awake at any given time, suicides are statistically more likely to occur during the night hours.

Homicides and violent crimes are also more frequent at well as the risks of illicit or inappropriate use of substances such as cannabis, alcohol and opiates.

Evening food choices tend to be unhealthy we look for more carbohydrates, lipids and processed foods and often we consume more calories than we need.

The circadian rhythm is influenced and we become more pessimistic

The lead author of the study explains that the circadian influence on our brain’s neural activity changes over 24 hoursleading to differences in the way we process and respond to the world.

For example, the positive effect, the tendency to view information in a positive light, is at its highest in the morningwhen circadian influences are attuned to wakefulness, and at its lowest point at night, when circadian influences are attuned to sleep.

In parallel, the negative effect: the tendency to see information in a negative light or threatening is greatest at night.

When we are awake beyond midnight, our minds can become flooded with thoughts and behaviors that we don’t normally have during the day.

Suddenly, your view of the world shrinks and becomes more negativeyou start making bad decisions and the mental map you create of the world around you may no longer correspond to reality.

More dopamine, more risk

The body also naturally produces more dopamine at night.which can alter your reward and motivation system and increase the likelihood of engaging in risky behavior.

The study authors caution that at this stage these conclusions are just a hypothesis.but recommend opening up a range of studies to take into account the biological effect of nighttime in general.