Healthy Sleep and Dreaming

“Now that insomnia has been recognized as a major risk factor for a number of health problems, there has been an appropriate shift away from band aiding it with a pill and toward serious investigation”  (Cartwright, 2010). Research has uncovered that poor sleep quality has a strong correlation with several medical  and mental health problems including hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes , obesity as well as major depression and anxiety disorder.

Healthy sleep does include dreaming. Cartwright, a psychologist sleep researcher, pointed out in her book.  “The Twenty- Four Hour Mind” that at night the mind has the capacity to down-regulate negative emotions from the day before. Emotions evoked during the day may impact our emotional well- being and threaten our self-concept. Our dreams, she concluded are a result of our brain’s effort to match similar experiences stored in the brain with recent emotion-evoking events. Feelings of anger or anxieties in reaction to daily experiences are processed and regulated during sleep at night. However this only can take place when the emotional upset is mild to moderate and the quality and quantity of sleep are adequate.

Resource: Cartwright D. R. (2010). The Twenty-four Hour Mind. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Rita Mueller MA. LLP has a practice at Birmingham Maple Clinic and is specializing insomnia and sleep disorders.

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