Sleep Benefits: Recovering From Traumatic Experiences
The wonders of sleep are amazing. More and more studies are proving just how necessary it is to the body’s recovery. We have talked before about what happens when you don’t sleep. Now, it’s time to focus on one of the many sleep benefits that exist. Researchers have found that sleep helps people deal with traumatic experiences. Find out how this works and what scientists have learned.
Processing Stress and Trauma
It is an unfortunate reality that people go through traumatic experiences. Whether it’s soldiers in war or a victim of a crime, something drastic can happen to anyone. There are many methods to dealing with stress disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but is sleeping one of them?
This is the very question on the minds of the scientists at the University of Zurich. They conducted a study, which tested two groups of people. Both groups watched a distressing film. One group was allowed to sleep that very night, while the other group remained awake.
Here’s what they found: “Our results reveal that people who slept after the film had fewer and less distressing recurring emotional memories than those who were awake,” says Birgit Kleim, the first author from the University of Zurich.
This positive impact on stressful events is because sleep helps us understand and process these memories. This makes our emotions to these events less relevant, less impactful. At least, this is the theory that the researchers have.
Using These Sleep Benefits for Recovery
Is sleep the ultimate answer to recovering from trauma and PTSD? We don’t know. For now, all signs say that sleeping helps. However, this study is limited. It doesn’t test patients with actual traumatic experiences, it simulates them.
We do know that no matter what, sleep is necessary. According to Kleim, “Our approach offers an important non-invasive alternative to the current attempts to erase traumatic memories or treat them with medication.” If more research is done, this can lead to safer methods of dealing with stress.