Naps with rapid eye movement sleep increase receptiveness to positive emotion

Jun 10, 2009

Naps with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep refresh the brain's empathetic sensitivity for evaluating human emotions by decreasing a negative bias and amplifying recognition of positive emotions.

Results show that the emotional brain is not stable across the day, resulting in marked changes in emotional reactivity. Naps with REM objectively and bi-directionally modify specific emotions. Individuals who took a 60 to 90 minute nap with displayed increased receptiveness to happy facial expression following sleep. People who did not take a nap during the day displayed an amplified reaction to anger and fear.

Lead author Ninad Gujar, senior research scientist at the University of California in Berkley, said that findings of the study emphasize the importance of sleep for the most basic yet psychologically and socially important brain process.

"Social interactions are critically guided by, and indeed are predicated on the basis of, accurately recognizing emotional facial expressions," said Gujar. "Only through accurate recognition can cogent social judgments and subsequent actions be made. Nowhere are these accurate emotional face judgments more critical than in many professions that are associated with sleep curtailment, including emergency and resident medical staff, military personnel, and even new parents."

The study involved 36 men and women, who were asked to rate four different affective face categories which included fear, sadness, anger and happiness. Participants performed the rating task twice; once at 12 p.m. and again the same day at 5 p.m. Half of the participants took a 60 to 90 minute nap that was monitored with polysomnography between the first and second rating sessions while the remaining individuals stayed awake.

Gujar states that the results highlight the importance of sleep in beneficially adapting emotional reactivity and stability at social, professional and mental health levels.

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine (news : web)

Explore further: Researchers to look for patterns in patient data from ManagingLife's pain diary app

Related Stories

Napping doesn't impair nighttime sleep, research finds

Oct 26, 2007

Concerned that a midday snooze might ruin a good night's sleep? Fret not; ongoing research from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center indicates that napping has little effect on sleep onset -- and that ...

Sleep loss linked to psychiatric disorders

Oct 22, 2007

It has long been assumed that sleep deprivation can play havoc with our emotions. This is notably apparent in soldiers in combat zones, medical residents and even new parents. Now there's a neurological basis ...

Recommended for you

Breastfeeding protects against environmental pollution

4 hours ago

Living in a city with a high level of vehicle traffic or close to a steel works means living with two intense sources of environmental pollution. However, a study conducted by the UPV/EHU researcher Aitana ...

When it comes to hearing, diet may trump noise exposure

5 hours ago

Although the old wives' tale about carrots being good for your eyesight has been debunked, University of Florida researchers have found a link between healthy eating and another of your five senses: hearing.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.