Mental Health News – Researchers of Washington State University have found that increasing the sleeping time after a traumatic experience may decrease any negative effects.
The researchers conducted an experiment to understand the benefits of sleeping therapeutic following trauma exposure. They processed a series of experiments in rats to identify the links between poor sleep quality and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They assigned the rats to two groups, and used optogenetic stimulation to activate melanin-concentrating hormone in one of them, and served the rats of the other group as controls.
They compared the groups and discovered that optogenetic stimulation increased the duration of rapid eye movement sleep that benefits learning and memory. After monitoring the behavior of the rats in a three-day classical conditioning experiment, they came across that the rats who received optogenetic stimulation increased their sleep time more successfully.
“This highlights that there is a time-sensitive window when — if you intervene to improve sleep — you could potentially stave off the negative effects of trauma. Conversely, it seems likely that if you are kept awake after a trauma, this could potentially be harmful to your cognitive function, though we haven’t directly tested this as part of our study,” said William Vanderheyden, the lead author of the study published in Scientific Reports.
According to the researchers, increasing sleep duration may not be effective for traumatic events of the distant past. But they assured that the intervention holds particular promise for military personnel and first responders who are more exposed to routine trauma. The study findings may also benefit those who have experienced accidents, natural disasters, abuse, or violence.
To Know More You May Refer To:
Davis, C.J., Vanderheyden, W.M. Optogenetic sleep enhancement improves fear-associated memory processing following trauma exposure in rats. Sci Rep 10, 18025 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75237-9