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Deep Sleep Can Calm and Reset the Anxious Brain

Recent research from the University of California – Berkeley, US, finds that the deep sleep, which is called non-rapid eye-movement slow-wave sleep (NREM), can calm and reset the anxious brain.Deep Sleep Can Calm and Reset the Stressed Brain

To study the effect of the deep sleep, a team of researchers performed a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography of 18 young adults as they were exposed to emotionally stirring videos after a full night of sleep and after a sleepless night.

The brain scans, made after a sleepless night, showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex and the brain’s deeper emotional centers were overactive, and after a full night of sleep, the scans showed that the participants’ anxiety levels declined significantly.

Study lead author Eti Ben Simon, a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley, says: “People with anxiety disorders routinely report having disturbed sleep, but rarely is sleep improvement considered as a clinical recommendation for lowering anxiety. Our study not only establishes a causal connection between sleep and anxiety, but it identifies the kind of deep NREM sleep we need to calm the overanxious brain.”

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