Forgetting is an Essential Function of Sleep
One recent theory suggests that forgetting, too, is an essential function of sleep. Researchers now suspect that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may emerge from flaws in sleep’s forgetting process. Two studies presented at the 2012 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans indicate that sleep might offer a window of opportunity for weakening memories and providing relief from lingering reminders of trauma.
Current treatments for PTSD—and other persistent negative memories—often rely on exposure therapy, which inoculates patients against their fear trigger by creating a new, safe memory that springs to mind more often than the old, frightening memory. But the old memory remains. To truly diminish its power, this research suggests, we must target the unconscious mind and help the brain forget. [Read Complete Post … ]
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