When her daughter was in pre-school, Rebecca Spencer felt something that many parents and nurses felt: the power of the knot.
Without a day, her daughter was dizzy, fluffy, or both at the same time.
Spencer, at the University of Massachusetts at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst's Sleeping Neuroscientist wanted to explore what was behind this anecdotal experience.
"Many people realize that a child who has no sleep is emotionally released," he explains. "It led us to ask ourselves the question:" Is naps really helping deal with feelings? ' "
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Scientific research has already shown that in sleep we can generally feel emotions. In fact, it is key to encoding data from day experiences so it is important to keep memories.
And emotional memories are unique because they activate the amygdala body: the brain's emotional core.
"Activating the Amygdala body is what you can remember for your wedding day and parental funeral more than any other working day," Spencer says.
The Amygdala body makes these memories meaningful, so during sleep they are handled longer and reproduced more than other memories.
The result is that emotionally important memories are easier to recover in the future.
But by influencing how memories are handled, the dream can also change their strength.
"Sleep is especially effective in shaping emotional transformation," says Elaina Bolinger, specialist in emotional and sleep disorders at the German University of Tiibingen.
In a recent study, Bolinger and his colleagues showed both negative and neutral images for children aged 8 to 11 years. Children showed an emotional response by choosing simple drawings of people.
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Later, some children slept and others did not. The researchers controlled brain physiology through the electrodes from the next room.
The next morning, the kids saw the same pictures and new ones. And compared to children who were awake, children who had slept better controlled their emotional responses.
This research suggests that sleep helps to crystallize emotional information and control how it makes us feel. And this effect happens quickly.
"Much of the current research shows that one night sleep is already useful," Bolinger says. "It is useful for handling memories, and it is also important for emotional regulation."
But all the dream is not the same.
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The Quick Eye Movement (REM) sleeps with emotional memories and has more REM sleep, allowing people to better cope with other intentions and remember emotional stories.
One theory refers to the absence of noradrenaline stress hormone during REM sleep. Temporarily released from this hormone brain can handle memories without stress.
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Simon Durrant, Director of Sleep and Cognitive Research at the University of England at Lincoln Highlights another aspect.
Prefrontal cortex is the most advanced part of the brain: where Durrant says, "the human impulse to remain calm and not react immediately to things."
During awakening, this is a part that keeps the amygdala body under control and thus feelings. During sleep, the connection decreases.
"In a certain way during the REM sleep, feeling has spread."
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But Spencer believes that non-REM sleep also plays an important role. Slow wave sleep (SWS) is the first sleeping stage that boosts memory and is particularly effective in handling neutral memory.
Spencer's study refers to the fact that the amount of SWS activity during sleep is affecting how emotional memories are transformed.
The naps consist mainly of non-REM sleeping. And a recent article written by Spencer seems to be the first to show that naps, and not just sleepy nights, promote the treatment of children's emotional memory.
Without napping, the kids felt emotional feelings. So they responded in the same way to neutral stimuli and emotional stimuli.
In summary, he assures that "if they do not sleep, children become hypersensitive to emotional stimuli" because they did not combine the emotional packs of that day.
Spencer believes that naps also promote the emotional processing of adults, albeit not to the same extent. An adult has a more mature hippocampus and thus has more ability to retain memories. Sleep does not hurt them much.
However, this is only one point. Spencer's aging research suggests that "we need to strengthen memory more often when we get older."
Interestingly, older adults seem to improve positive memories, while young adults tend to be negative.
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This may be due to the fact that children and young people focus on negative experiences because they contain important information that must be learned: the risk of a fire and the risk that someone is drinking from a stranger.
But by the end of life, people consider it important to be positive. They also have less REM sleep, the type of sleep that is likely to save negative memories, especially in depression.
Sleep researchers also analyze the potential of patients for absent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
One study suggests that sleeping within 24 hours of traumatic experience makes them less harmful in later days. Anxiety in anxiety patients can help them remember that they have removed their fears.
On the contrary, wakefulness – where people deliberately sleep – spreads to the treatment of depression.
Insomnia may in some cases have a protective effect. Spencer notes that after the trauma, "the natural biological response under these circumstances is insomnia."
Thus, it may sometimes be good that the lack of REM sleep weakens the ability of the brain to strengthen emotional memories.
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"There is evidence that people with longer REM sleep tend to be more depressed," Durrant says. The expert believes that this is because the depressed subset reaffirms the negative memories during the REM sleep.
"I do not think I see this problem being solved," he says of all the potential clinical applications associated with uniqueness and awakening.
But it is clear that certain types of decision-making improve after sleep, partly because in the dream everything is regulated that the feeling is faint.
Bolinger explains it clearly: Generally, "sleep will help you feel better".
After all, the best recipe for broken heart or cloudy mind may be a nap.
Read the original story in English BBC Future.