By Karen Foster, Prevent Disease
Extreme angst is on the rise nationally and globally, especially among teens and millennials. Among other factors, preliminary findings from UC Berkeley sleep researchers point to a chronic lack of deep restorative sleep.
Insomnia is a frequently cited problem, affecting 30-60% of peri- and postmenopausal women. Depressive symptoms are nearly equally prevalent, affecting 25-40% of this female population.
Investigating the neural link between sleep and anxiety, UC Berkeley neuroscientists Matthew Walker and Eti Ben Simon are finding that non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep plays a key role in calming the overactive brain, especially in the brain regions that process and regulate emotions.
“The more time you spend in deep non-REM sleep, the less anxious you are in the morning,” said Ben Simon in reporting her preliminary findings at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting this week in San Diego.