There are many health benefits to getting good sleep every night. A new study, however, adds to the list. Getting enough REM sleep could play a role in how well we respond to stressful situations, including fear. The study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in late October of this year.
Researchers believe the brain, in its dreaming state, halts the production of the stress hormone norepinephrine. This hormone is also known as the fight or flight hormone – and with less of it, we’re likely to feel less fear in stressful situations.
Norepinephrine is also implicated in those suffering from chronic anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Sleep VS. the Fight or Flight Response
In school, most of us were taught that the fight or flight response protects us. It’s good for us. And our survival at times may depend on it.
But in the modern world, this is rarely the case. In fact, being too sensitive to normal, everyday events is bad. The highest rates of anxiety and PTSD are found in industrialized nations. Those same nations also sport the lowest quality of sleep.
One of the best tips for getting enough sleep is to wrap up loose ends before bed. This means chores. Going to bed with the day’s loose ends tied up helps put your brain at ease. How many times have you laid in bed thinking about all the things you had to do that day? Or tomorrow? Ensure those things are completed before you hit the sack, and you’ll have peace of mind when you lay down.
Also, make sure you get enough exercise during the day. While working and coming home mentally tired, your physical energy still needs to be used up in order to get good sleep. Stay active during the day and you’ll sleep easier and better at night.
Getting enough sleep is an absolute requirement. For those of you suffering from anxiety, agoraphobia, or post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s even more critical.