Let’s Not Sleep On It

(from the discontinued RET Forum)

Researcher, Dr. Kenichi Kuriyama, evaluated whether sleep deprivation after exposure to an aversive event might eliminate the associated fear, due to the lack of memory consolidation that would typically occur during [REM] sleep.

They evaluated healthy volunteers who were shown video clips of both safe driving and unexpected motor vehicle accidents. Half of the volunteers were then deprived of sleep while the other half received a normal night’s sleep. Later testing sessions revealed that sleep deprivation eliminated the fear-associated memories through both fear recognition and physiological fear reactions, suggesting that sleep deprivation may factor in to some sort of therapy for individuals with PTSD or other anxiety disorders.

That sounds like maybe investigating some sort of therapy that seeks to replicate REM sleep in an awake condition. Further, that such a therapy might utilize the same brain structures as in REM sleep. Sounds a bit familiar to me.

Dr. Kuriyama explained: “Sleep deprivation after exposure to a traumatic event, whether intentional or not, may help prevent PTSD. Our findings may help to clarify the functional role of acute insomnia and to develop a prophylactic strategy of sleep restriction for prevention of PTSD.”

“It would be nice if the benefits of sleep deprivation upon fear learning could be produced more easily for survivors of extreme stress,” noted John Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at Yale University. “New insights into the neurobiology of sleep dependent learning may make it possible for these people to take a medication that disrupts this process while leaving restorative elements of sleep intact.”

OR – they might look into Rapid Eye Technology, which seeks to replicate REM sleep in a controlled environment.

Sources: Elsevier, AlphaGalileo Foundation.

News Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/210641.php