New Study Outlines Simple Solution for Stress and Panic
Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience have discovered that stressful events that cause stress, panic or fear are overcome during deep REM sleep, meaning sleep hygiene is especially important after traumatic events.
A frightening or unpleasant event is known to have a long-lasting physical and mental impact on humans.
One of these key impact areas is the amygdala in the brain, which is where we process emotions.
The amygdala is regarded as the ‘siren’ of the brain, which demands attention.
However, in order for the brain to function properly, the siren must also be switched off again.
For this, a restful REM sleep, the part of the sleep with the most vivid dreams, turns out to be essential.
The findings can be of great importance for about two-thirds of all people with a mental disorder, as both restless REM sleep and a hyperactive amygdala are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression and insomnia.
People with PTSD carry their traumatic experience to the next day: people with an anxiety disorder take their greatest fear with them, people with depression their despair, and people with chronic insomnia their tension.
Authors Rick Wassing, Frans Schalkwijk and Eus van Someren predict that treatment of restless REM sleep could transdiagnostically help to process emotional memories overnight and give them a better place in the brain.
Read more: 3 Steps to Process PTSD & Come Back Fighting