Recent quotes:

REM versus deep sleep

I was just going to comment that there's also evidence that suggest that deeper sleep, that what we call slow-wave sleep, non-REM sleep, might be more involved in sort of strengthening memories in a way that they're for REM. So for example, if you want to remember someone's name or phone number that might be where that non-REM sleep is valuable. And that REM sleep seems to be more involved in memory processing where you're not trying to exactly remember it in the form that you first saw it but rather to extract meaning from it. So to get patterns or to figure out the rules of something or to extract just to get the sort of the executive summary. But that seems to be more of what REM sleep that's about and that would fit in with the emotional piece too because, of course, if something had happens during the day, you don't simply want to remember it better than next morning. You want to understand it.

REM and PTSD

For example, we know in PTSD, which is perhaps one of the quintessential psychiatric conditions of dysfunctional emotional memory processing, there you see profound disruptions of sleep, including REM sleep. And by trying to ameliorate(ph) or restore that REM sleep, recent findings have demonstrated benefits in terms of clinical PTSD outcome.

REM launders emotion

One of the things that's been emerging over the past five or six years in the literature is that REM sleep seems to serve an almost sort of overnight therapy benefit in terms of our emotional well-being and our mental health. And what's interesting is that REM sleep chemically, in terms of the anuric transmitters that swirl around the brain, REM sleep is perhaps the only time during the 24-hour period where a particular stress neurochemical called norepinephrine or noradrenaline is actually suppressed and it's completely shut down from the brain. And it seems to be that REM sleep is a perfect chemical environment, almost like a therapy session, where you can take emotional events from the prior day and perhaps just smooth the sharp edges off those experiences, and almost like an overnight soothing balm, as it were.