How does REM sleep affect emotions?


REM sleep plays a significant role in emotional regulation and processing. During REM sleep, the levels of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline are completely shut off in the brain, providing a unique neurochemical environment that allows for the processing of emotional memories without the interference of this stress-related chemical. This shutdown occurs only during REM sleep, making it a distinct period for emotional processing 1.

Moreover, Andrew Huberman explains that REM sleep involves the dissociation of emotional responses. This means that during REM sleep, dreams can occur where emotional responses are processed in the absence of fear and anxiety, which is crucial for handling challenging emotional experiences from waking life. By experiencing these events without the associated stress responses, individuals can adjust their emotional states regarding past events more healthily 2.

Thus, REM sleep provides a "safe" environment where the brain can process and manage emotional responses effectively, contributing significantly to emotional stability and resilience.

REM Sleep Chemistry

During REM sleep, noradrenaline levels in the brain are completely shut off, allowing for emotional memory processing in a neurochemically safe environment. Acetylcholine levels increase significantly, while serotonin decreases, creating a unique state for emotional overnight therapy.

Huberman Lab

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