We know that sleep is crucial for our brain ability to function, to memorize and to learn. A recent study shows that getting only half a night’s sleep disturbs the brain’s ability to unlearn fear-related memories. That might make people especially vulnerable to fear-related disorders such as anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder.
Surprisingly, in the study the brain activity of people who got no sleep, looked more similar to those with normal sleep, suggesting that a limited sleep may be worse than no sleep at all.
The researchers explained that by linking sleep only half of the night to a loss of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is important for memory consolidation and usually happens toward the end of a normal sleep period.
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