When her daughter started school, Rebecca Spencer discovered something she knew many parents and caregivers: the power of a nap.
Without a nap, the daughter was dizzy, compassionate or both at the same time.
Spencer, from the University of Amherst, wanted to do research into this anecdotal experience in the neuroscience of the United States of America.
"Many people realize that a child without a nap is emotionally de-regulated," she says. "This asked me a question:" Naps really helps to process emotions? "
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Scientific research has already shown that, in general, sleep helps us make sense of emotions. In fact, it has a fundamental role in codifying information that captures daily experiences, so saving memories is essential.
And emotional memories are the peculiarities of the way the body of the tonsill is activated: the brain's emotional nucleus.
"Amygdala is an activation of the body, it allows you to remember your funeral day and your parents' funeral over another day," says Spencer.
The memories of the tonsils in the body are significant, so that they are processed during sleep during longer periods and more than just recall memories.
As a result, important memories are easier to recover in the future.
But when memories are affecting the processes, dreams can also change the power.
"Sleep is an effective specialty in the transformation of emotional memory," says Elaina Bolinger, of the University of Tuebingen, specializing in emotional and sleep.
In a new study, Bolinger and his colleagues showed negative and neutral images of children between 8 and 11 years old. Children were shown emotional responses by choosing simple people's drawings.
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Later, the children slept and others did not. The researchers controlled their brain's physiology from the next room using electrodes.
The next morning, children saw the same images, as well as others. And as regards children, they were better controlled by children's emotions for children.
This research suggests that sleep helps control crystallization of emotional information and how we feel. And this effect is rapidly happening.
"Today's research shows a lot that night sleep is useful," says Bolinger. "Memory processing is useful and, in general, emotional regulation is also important."
But the dream is not the same.
Types of sleep
The rapid eye movement (REM) is associated with emotional memories and REM sleep makes it easier for people to assess the intentions of others and remember emotional stories.
A theory that lack of stress hormone noradrenaline during REM sleep. This hormone releasing this hormone can lead to stress-free memories.
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Simon Durrant, Lincoln University, England, Head of the Sleep and Cognition Laboratory highlights another aspect.
The prefrontal head is the most developed part of the brain: Durrant says "the human momentum is calm and it does not react immediately."
After the war, this is to keep the amygdala body under control, and therefore emotions. Over the course of time, this connection is reduced.
"In a certain sense, REM is a rampant emotion during sleep."
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But Spencer believes that REM is not asleep as an important role. The wolf's wavelength (SWS) is the first phase of sleep that reinforces memories, and is especially effective when processing neutral memories.
Spencer's research suggests that the amount of SWS activity is transformed into emotional memory during sleep.
Most Naps are not associated with REM. Spencer has said that one of the last articles written has appeared for the first time, not just sleeping at night, for the emotional memory of children.
Without napping, children showed a tendency toward emotion. With a nap, neutral stimuli and emotional stimuli responded similarly.
In short, "if they do not sleep, children make emotional stimulation hypersensitivity" because they do not reinforce their emotional baggage.
Spencer believes that naps also contribute to emotional upheaval with adults, although not in the same way. The adult has a higher hippocampus and therefore has the ability to store more memories. Do not sleep does not hurt.
However, this is only a point. The research on Spencer's aging suggests that "it forces us to strengthen our memories as we often do."
It is interesting that elderly adults show a positive favor of positive memories, that young people are negatives.
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As children and adolescents should focus on negative experiences, they have key information to learn: the risks of fire as regards the risk of drinking a stranger's drink.
Until the end of life, people can give us priority. In addition, REM sleep has less, usually sleep disorders that keep negative memories, especially with depression.
Sleep Researchers are also studying the potential of sleep-specific aspects to treat post-traumatic stress (PTSD).
A study suggests sleeping a traumatic experience for 24 hours with memories of less experience in later days. For people with anxiety, sleep therapies can overcome fear.
On the other hand, wakefulness therapy that diffuses as a treatment for depression (people are forced to sleep).
Insomnia may have a protective effect in some cases. After Spencer's trauma, "this natural biological responsibility is to be insomnia in these conditions."
In this way, it may sometimes be good for the lack of sleep on REM because the weakness of the brain impairs the ability to strengthen emotional memories.
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"There is evidence that REM sleeps more people are longer," says Durrant. Experts believe that this is a subset of depression to restore negative memories during REM sleep.
"I do not think this problem will be resolved," said Sleep and Wakefulness Therapy for all potential clinical applications.
But it is clear that some types of improvement in decision-making improve after sleep, especially because sleep is regulating all this sensation.
Bolinger explains it clearly: in general, "it helps sleep when you feel better."
In the end, the best recipes for a broken or hearted heart can be a nap.
Read the original story in the BBC Future English.