Dreaming May Help Relieve a Bad Day
A bad day mayِ not seemِ quiteِ so painful afterِ we dream, a newِ study suggests.
This processing mayِ take theِ emotional edge offِ ofِ difficult memories, theِ researchers said.
We wake upِ theِ nextِ day, andِ those experiences haveِ beenِ softened inِ their emotional strength, saidِ study researcher Matthew Walker, anِ associate professor ofِ psychology andِ neuroscience atِ the University ofِ California, Berkeley.We feel betterِ aboutِ them, weِ feel weِ canِ cope.
Each group viewed 150 emotional images — including a man holding a gun, a shark andِ a snake aboutِ to bite — whileِ theyِ hadِ their brains scanned usingِ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The otherِ halfِ viewed theِ images inِ the evening andِ againِ the nextِ morning, afterِ a full night ofِ sleep.
In addition, MRI scans showed a dramatic reduction inِ activity inِ the amygdala, a part ofِ the brain thatِ processes emotions — thisِ reduction wouldِ allowِ the brain’s rational prefrontal cortex toِ regain control ofِ the participants’ emotional reactions, theِ researchers said.
Effect on PTSD
Walker saidِ heِ was tipped offِ to theِ possibleِ beneficial effects ofِ REM sleep whenِ a physician atِ a U.S.
Department ofِ Veterans Affairs hospital told himِ of a blood pressure drug thatِ was inadvertently preventing reoccurring nightmares inِ PTSD patients.
This study canِ help explain theِ mysteries ofِ why theseِ medications helpِ some PTSD patients andِ their symptoms asِ well asِ their sleep, Walker said.