Lack of sleep prevents people who suffer from it to relieve emotional tension. Instead of fading, distress would even worsen. One more proof that sleep helps us to digest our emotions.
It has long been known that quality sleep is essential for good health. In addition to allowing us to "recharge our batteries", sleep would allow us to to assimilate the events of our day to move on, from consolidate our memorybut also to keep our brain at its best. But what happens in the brains of people who do not sleep or little? A study of the Dutch Institute of Neuroscience in Amsterdam was conducted on the subject and published in the journal Brain.
She describes how, using MRI, researchers examined and compared the brain activity of people with insomnia and others with regular sleep. All remembered embarrassing experiences dating back several years.
Sleep helps to dispel emotional tension
The scans showed that when the group that slept normally remembered old embarrassing memoriesthe brain circuits they activated were "markedly different" from those they activated by recalling more recent memories. But among insomniacs, this difference was not made: when they remembered old embarrassing moments, the brain circuits they activated overlapped with the active circuits. Overlaps have occurred especially in the anterior cingulate cortex, which connects the parts of the brain involved in the emotional and cognitive treatment.
But what does it mean? Insomniacs would find it difficult to separate old and new memories. Indeed, according to Rick Wassing, author of the first study, "sleep does not help relieve emotional distress in people with insomnia." On the contrary, restless nights can even make them worse. "Research on the brain now shows that only good sleepers benefit from sleep when it comes to dispelling emotional tension," Wassing concludes.