If you're in a relationship or had been in one, you know how tough it is when you and your partner fight. It seems impossible to sleep at night. Sleeping with a heavy heart is one of the worst feelings in life. Here's one study to prove that quarrels between couples should never last overnight. Experts say, we should never, ever sleep angry.
A group of researchers studied how the brain works before we sleep. In their recent study
, they knew that sleeping on negative memories makes it harder to forget. Basically, these experts claim that thoughts we have before we go to sleep becomes long-term memories.
Though, humans can suppress memories voluntarily, the results of the research showed that it's more difficult to suppress the thoughts we have before sleeping.
Lead author of the research, Yunzhe Liu, a PhD student at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, and his co-authors gathered 73 male participants, and subjected them for a test. The researchers showed horrifying images to the participants, including people crying, violence, crimes, and corpses. Alongside were neutral faces to associate it with the images used.
Later that day, the same faces associated with the images were shown to the participants. Then, they were asked to suppress the memories of the images.
The participants repeated the task before going to bed. After a full night's sleep, the participants said it was tougher to suppress the memories of the images than they did the day before.
“Overnight consolidation makes aversive memory more resistant to suppression by promoting hippocampal-neocortical reorganization of the memory,” explains Liu.
Brain images of the participants showed that the neural circuits that suppress the memories shifted from hippocampus to the cortex after sleeping. The shift of neural circuits caused the memories to go to the long-term brain bank.
Experts see this as a significant discovery for the treatment of people with PTSD. Some say it can be really helpful for students when studying for exams. While, others say it can improve the quality of life of any individual by deliberately choosing happy thoughts before going to sleep.
For people in relationships, it's a striking lesson, too. If you want your partner to forgive and forget, don't let her hit the bed without saying sorry. Simple.