Dream it Away
Dreams are nature’s best stress relievers? That is exactly what a new study by researchers at the University of Berkeley, California suggests.
Els van der Helm, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, stated “It [REM] aids therapies not only for (post-traumatic stress disorder) but also mood disorders.”
The research, which was conducted for over a year, suggests that REM creates an optimal environment for the brain to process emotions because it reduces stress inducing electrical activity patterns.
They also noticed that the amygdala, the part of the brain that processes emotion, decreased as a result of REM sleep especially the aggressive aspects. This study is the first of its kind to record sleep’s effect on brain activity and behavioral reactions to emotional experiences.
“We believe this unique brain state helps to put these emotional experiences ‘in perspective’ by integrating them with previous memories while ‘stripping away’ the emotional tone associated with them,” van der Helm