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: Even without kids, couples eat frequent family meals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Even without kids, couples eat frequent family meals

26 minutes ago

Couples and other adult family members living without minors in the house are just as likely as adults living with young children or adolescents to eat family meals at home on most days of the week, new research suggests.

Health law enrollment now 7.3M

13 hours ago

The Obama administration says 7.3 million people have signed up for subsidized private health insurance under the health care law—down from 8 million reported earlier this year.

ASTRO issues second list of 'Choosing wisely' guidelines

14 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has released a second list of five radiation oncology-specific treatments that should be discussed before being prescribed, as part of the ...

Bill Gates says progress made on new super-thin condom

15 hours ago

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said Thursday progress is being made on developing a "next-generation" ultra-thin, skin-like condom that could offer better sexual pleasure, help population control and ...

User comments : 0