Never go to bed angry, the old saying goes, or that bad feeling will harden into resentment. Now scientists have found evidence to support the idea that negative emotional memories are harder to reverse after a night’s sleep.
The study published recently in the journal Nature Communications found a link between sleep and the consolidation of emotional memories. Dr. Eric Dyken of the University of Iowa Sleep Disorder Center explains:
"That part of the brain, the hippocampus, is where you take new memories and you prepare them for permanent storage. And many researchers believe that that new memory, the bad one we've had after the big argument we've had with one of our family members, is right there in the hippocampus, and then if you settle a little bit of sleep, you'll encode it throughout the rest of the cortex, throughout the rest of the brain, in a more permanent fashion."
In this hour of River to River, Dr. Dyken talks with host Ben Kieffer about various sleep studies, and takes listener questions.