See Something Traumatic? Don't Sleep Right Away

You might lock in those nasty memories: Study
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2012 4:52 PM CST

(Newser) – Snoozing after experiencing a traumatic event might forge the negative memories and emotions in the brain, a new study suggests. UMass researchers exposed 100 adults to unsettling images and then allowed half to sleep and kept the other half awake. Twelve hours later, the subjects who stayed up displayed a weaker emotional response and weaker memory of the images than the ones who slept, reports ABC News.

"Not only did sleep protect the memory, but it also protected the emotional reaction," says the study's co-author. "It's true that 'sleeping on it' is usually a good thing to do. It's just when something truly traumatic or out of the ordinary happens that you might want to stay awake." The study could have implications in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. (Read more sleep stories.)

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