A new research suggests that better-quality sleep is associated with reduced activity in brain regions responsible for fear learning. This means that time spent in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep can indicate the susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A team of researchers from Rutgers University in Newark, USA, asked the 17 participants, 12 male, and 5 female, to monitor their brain activity during sleep for about one week. The researchers found that those participants who spent more time in the REM phase of sleep also had dampened activity in the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex during fear learning.
The researchers conclude in their paper: “Ultimately, our results may suggest that baseline REM sleep could serve as a non-invasive biomarker for resilience, or susceptibility, to trauma.”