(STUDY FINDS) -- BERKELEY, Calif. — Anxiety and stress are universal human conditions, experienced to some degree by everyone at various times in their life. While some are less prone to bouts of anxiety than others, we’ve all felt especially fried after a long day filled with trials and tribulations. Society tells us there are various ways to reduce stress and unwind: have a drink, watch a movie, take a deep breath, etc, but a new study finds the best way to promote a natural, neural “reset” of sorts and relieve anxiety is to fall into a deep sleep.
According to the research team at UC Berkeley, deep sleep, scientifically referred to as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, stabilizes our emotions, promotes highly-synchronized neural movements between synapses, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. In short, falling into a deep sleep quite literally soothes the brain into a relaxed state, allowing it to reset inter-neural connections and reinvigorate itself.
“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganizing connections in the brain,” explains senior author Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology, in a release. “Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night.”
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