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The key to worrying less? More slow-wave sleep

Sleep more

Sleeping can help us fight anxiety.

We are less worried or anxious after a good night's sleep, as compared to no sleep or even disturbed sleep.

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The key to worrying less? More slow-wave sleep

The key to worrying less? More slow-wave sleep

https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/sleep-anxiety

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

Sleep more

Sleeping can help us fight anxiety.

We are less worried or anxious after a good night's sleep, as compared to no sleep or even disturbed sleep.

NREM and REM Sleep

REM, the Rapid Eye Movement stage of sleep happens when our eyes are moving fast; we are said to be dreaming in that stage.

NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) is the stage of sleep when we are in deep sleep and are not moving. In this stage, our brain is able to clear toxins and consolidate memories.

The deepest part of sleep

Slow-Wave stage of NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is the deepest phase of sleep.
This stage, which repairs and restores the brain, readies you for the next day, fully awake and functioning at an optimal level.

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The Science of Sleep

The average adult spends 36 % (or about one-third) of his or her life asleep.

Purpose of Sleep:

  • Restoration
  • Memory Consolidation
  • Metabolic Health
Restoration

The first purpose of sleep is restoration.

Every day, your brain accumulates metabolic waste as it goes about its normal neural activities. Sleeping restores the brains healthy condition by removing these waste products. Accumulation of these waste products has been linked to many brain-related disorders.

Memory Consolidation

The second purpose of sleep is memory consolidation.

Sleep is crucial for memory consolidation, which is responsible for your long term memories. Insufficient or fragmented sleep can hamper your ability to remember facts and feelings/emotions.

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Dreams as therapists

Your dreams may be ways of confronting emotional dramas...

Fight-or-flight training

One of the areas of the brain that’s most active during dreaming is the amygdala - the part of the brain associated with the survival instinct and the fight-or-flight response.

One theory suggests dreams may be the brain’s way of getting you ready to deal with a threat. Fortunately, the brainstem sends out nerve signals during REM sleep that relax your muscles. That way you don’t try to run or punch in your sleep.

Dreams as your muse

One theory for why we dream is that it helps facilitate our creative tendencies. 

Without the logic filter, you might normally use in your waking life that can restrict your creative flow, your thoughts and ideas have no restrictions when you’re sleeping.

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The necessary amount of sleep
The necessary amount of sleep

Most adults function best after 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

When we get less than 7 hours, we’re impaired (to degrees that vary from person to person).  When sleep persistently fa...

Polyphasic sleeping

It's based on the idea that by partitioning your sleep into segments, you can get away with less of it.

Though it is possible to train oneself to sleep in spurts instead of a single nightly block, it does not seem possible to train oneself to need less sleep per 24-hour cycle.

Replacing sleep with caffeine

Caffeine works primarily by blocking the action of a chemical called adenosine, which slows down our neural activity, allowing us to relax, rest, and sleep.

By interfering with it, caffeine cuts the brake lines of the brain’s alertness system. Eventually, if we don’t allow our body to relax, the buzz turns to anxiety.

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