Get a good night’s sleep by practicing Yoga Nidra.
The latest study, titled Over Anxious and Under Slept, by renowned sleep researcher, Matthew Walker, established a causal connection between sleep and anxiety. How did he do this?
Four researchers gave all study participants a questionnaire about anxiety. They were divided into two groups. One group got a full nights sleep while the other group stayed up all. Everyone took the same questionnaire about anxiety the next day and they all saw video clips containing neutral or distressing images while their brain activity were measured with a MRI.
What were the results?
The group without sleep rated themselves with 30% more anxiety than they had the night before.
50% of the group without sleep scored their anxiety level high enough to qualify for clinical anxiety symptoms.
The MRI images showed two important areas of contrast between the two groups. There was less activity in the middle of the pre-frontal cortex for the group without sleep than the group with sleep. This area of the brain keeps emotional responses in check. Without proper functioning, there is no “brake pedal.” Why do we need a break pedal? We need to help modulate the emotional centers of our brains. Sleep deprived group members had increased activity in the deeper, emotional centers of the brain (amygdala and dorsal anterior cingulate). So not only does poor sleep make you more emotional there is less ability to keep it in check.
There were variations in the amount of slow-wave sleep, or Non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) experienced by those who got a full night of rest. The more time spent in NREM sleep, the less anxiety experienced the next day. Slow wave sleep stage is the deepest phase of sleep and researchers say this is when our brains clean house. Memories are consolidate and waste by products are washed out. Getting a full night’s rest of non rem sleep, deep sleep, ensures our brains operate in a balanced way.
The researchers, Et Ben Simon, Aubrey Rossi, Alison G. Harvey, and Matthew Walker, from University of California at Berkley, were excited. “…Rarely is sleep improvement considered as a clinical recommendation for lowering anxiety” surmised Eti Ben Simon.
“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night of sleep” -Matthew Walker
Read the full report here https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-019-0754-8