Sleep study discovery could hold key to tackling PTSD and other anxiety disorders

Triggering? ‘bad’ ‘memories’ ’to? ‘reactivate’ ’in? ‘REM’ ‘sleep’ ’-? ‘the’ ‘period’ ’when’ ‘people’ ’dream’ ‘most’ ’vividly’ ‘-’ ‘reduces’ ’the? ‘emotion’ ’associated’ ‘with’ ’these’ ‘memories’ ’on? ‘waking,’ ’a? ‘new’ ‘study’ ’has? ’suggested.’ -

It? ‘is’ ‘the’ ‘first’ ’research’ ‘to’ ‘suggest’ ’this’ ‘technique’ ’could’ ‘have’ ’potential’ ‘for’ ‘use’ ‘as’ ‘a’ ‘tool’ ’for? ‘the’ ‘treatment’ ’of? -‘anxiety’ ‘disorders,’ ’potentially’ ‘including’ ’‘post-traumatic’ ‘stress’ ’disorder’ -(PTSD).

The? ‘study’ ’was? ‘carried’ ’out? ‘by’ ‘psychologists’ ’from’ ‘Cardiff’ ’University,’ ‘along’ ’with’ ‘experts’ ’from’ ‘the’ ‘University ’of? ‘Manchester’, ’and? ‘the’ ‘findings’ ’are? ‘published’ ’today’ ‘in’ ‘Communications ’Biology.

Sleep? ‘plays’ ’a? ‘crucial’ ’role’ ‘in’ ‘the’ ‘consolidation’ ’of? ‘memories’ ’-? ‘and’ ‘this’ ’discovery’ ‘adds’ ’to? ‘a’ ‘growing’ ’body’ ‘of’ ‘evidence’ ’that’ ‘sleep’ ’can? ‘help’ ’to? “decouple? ‘emotions’ ’from’ ’difficult’ experiences.

In? ‘particular,’ ’the? -“sleep? ‘to’ forget,’ ‘sleep’ ’to? remember? ‘hypothesis’’ ’suggests’ ‘reactivation’ ’during’ ‘REM’ ‘sleep’ ’can? ‘lead’ ’to? ‘a’ ‘dampening’ ’of? ‘the’ ‘emotion’ ’around’ ‘bad’ ‘memories’ ’since’ ‘the’ ‘reactivation’ ’happens’ ‘when’ ’the? ‘body’ ’is? ‘in’ ‘deep’ ’sleep’ ‘and’ ‘will’ ’not? ’respond.’ -

The? ? -‘scientists’ ‘tested’ ’this’ ‘hypothesis’ ’in? ‘rapid-eye’ ’movement’ -(REM)? ‘and in’ ‘slow-wave’ ’sleep’ -(SWS)’, often referred to as deep sleep, ‘by’ ‘using’ ’targeted’ ‘memory’ ’reactivation’ -(TMR).’ ‘TMR’ ‘involves’ ’pairing’ ‘sounds’ ’with’ ‘learned’ ’material’ ‘during’ ’the? ‘daytime,’ ’then’ ‘re-presenting ’‘the’ ‘sounds’ ’‘at’ ‘night’ ’to? ‘trigger’ ’the? ’memory.’

In? ‘this’ ’study,’ ‘46’ ‘participants’ ’rated’ ‘picture-sound’ ’pairs’ ‘in’ ‘terms’ ’of? ‘how’ upsetting? they? ‘were’ ’‘before’ ‘and’ ‘after’ ’sleep’. They? ‘divided’ ’the? ‘participants’ ’into’ ‘two’ ‘groups,’ ’an? ‘REM’ ‘group’ ’and? ‘a’ ‘SWS’ ‘group. In’ ‘each’ ’group,’ ‘half’ ’of? ‘the’ ‘negative’ ’and? ‘half’ ’of? ‘the’ ‘neutral’ ’image/sound? ‘pairs’ ’were’ ‘reactivated’ ’in? ‘sleep’ ’(REM? ‘or’ ‘SWS)’ ‘via’ ’TMR. -

They? ‘found’ ’that’ ‘reactivation’ ’in? ‘REM’ ‘but’ ‘not’ ‘SWS’ ‘led’ ‘to’ ‘a’ ‘significant’ ’reduction’ ‘in’ ‘how’ upsetting participants found the pictures the next day. This? ‘was’ ‘true’ ’for? ‘both’ ’negative’ ‘and’ ‘neutral’ ’pairs,’ ‘but’ ‘the’ ‘effect’ ’was? ‘driven’ ’by? ‘the’ ‘negative’ ’ones. -

Sleep? ‘psychologist’ ’Professor’ ‘Penny’ ’Lewis,’ ‘from’ ’Cardiff’ ‘University’ ’Brain’ ‘Research’ ’Imaging’ ‘Centre’ ’(CUBRIC),’ ‘said:’ -“These? ‘results’ ’are? ‘important’ ’because’ ‘they’ ’provide’ ‘strong’ ’support’’ ‘for’ ‘the idea’ ‘that’’ ’triggering’ ‘emotional’ ’memories’ ‘to’ ‘reactivate’ ’during’ ‘REM’ ‘sleep’ ’can? ‘be’ ‘used’ ’to? ‘dampen negative’ ‘emotions’ ’‘that’ -‘exist’ ‘around’ ’a? ‘bad’ ‘memory.’’

The? ‘team’ ’intends’ ‘to’ ‘look’’ at brain ’activity’ ‘associated’ ’with’ ‘this’ ’emotional’ ‘dampening’ ’in? ‘their’ ’next’ ‘study.’ ’They’ ‘hope’ ’to? ‘find’ ’that’ ‘this’ ’method’ ‘of’ ‘dampening’ ’emotional’ ‘reactions’ ’also’ ‘reduces’ ’engagement’ ‘of’ ‘an’ ‘area’ ’called’ ‘the’ ‘amygdala,’ ’which’ ‘is’ ‘strongly’ ’involved’ ‘in’ ’individual emotional responses.

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