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Memories are strengthened via brainwaves produced during sleep,

on 09 June 2019
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The answer to life's ripples

If life is not what you thought it would turn out to be, then you may be thinking . . . how can I change this? And that is a good question, so, I'll hopefully give you a good answer. If you want your life to take you in a different direction, then you need to start to do things differently, and, the best way to make that happen is through hypnosis . . . 

I always get excited when I read something that is new or that establishes my theory of what hypnosis is and how it works, this research does both. The important takeaway from this research is the evidence that sleep plays an instrumental role in processing and strengthening memories. It is also illustrative of the part that sleep processes play in shaping our world and how we respond to it. Life, as a process, occurs as memories and learning unfold in each moment of our day. The tragedy for us humans, is that the memories that relate to fear or danger, have an additional ally, within the neighbouring regions of the amygdala and its vast array of closely connected regions. These networks include almost every area of the brain and several regions overlap, in that they process similar functions or aspects that relate to either emotion and cognition.

When it comes to hypnotherapy though, we mostly only have to concern ourselves with the way certain memories have linked together or made erroneous connections or, made more out of something than there actually is. An example of that could be seen in the fear of flying. To the brain of a person with a fear of flying, they are convinced something is going to happen, it will crash and they haven't even bought the ticket yet! The strange thing about fears like this is that they can sometimes be a consequence of something totally unrelated to flying. This occurs through an adaption or maladaptive form of fear conditioning. It is known that a lightbulb (the conditioned stimulus) can take on all the strength of an electric shock (an unconditioned stimulus). So, after a period of pairing the shock with the light, the light alone elicits the fear response, that had hitherto been elicited by the shock.

In that vein, if someone is in a state of emotional shock, then the presence of an unconditioned shock (not electric), one can stimulate the other. For example, someone suffering from the emotional trauma of a relationship breakdown, while flying, they suddenly experience very severe turbulence, subsequently, a fear of flying can develop in the presence of turbulence or even driving over a very bumpy road. The brain responds to sensory perceptions, rather than reality. That is why a car backfiring or any loud bang can turn an ordinary day into reliving a fierce firefight of past war experience for a sufferer of PTSD. 

Hypnotherapy really does have an exciting ability to heal and it does that by helping you to realign old memories (memory reconsolidation) or it can help build new ones (memory consolidation), quite often both happen during the period of hypnotic treatment and the healing happens when the brain is in specific brainwave states, states that are akin to the process of sleeping. We know that state as the nebulous world of hypnotic trance!

Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life management methods there is, especially in its ability to promote clear thinking and good states of mental wellness. The behaviours that make life challenging are often a result of too much stress, too little sleep and too little by way of clarity! So, to get or take back control of your mind and your life, it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the subconscious mind's role in perpetuating negative, vague and ambiguous states of mind. Hypnosis helps us to create calm relaxing states of mind that make life work better! If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to make your life feel better, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation? Hypnosis gives you the ability to have a good life! 

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here or to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here


The Research:

Researchers have known about the close relationship between sleep and memory for decades. Now, a new study published in the journal NeuroImage looks at one important mechanism in that relationship. The research brings us closer to understanding how learned information turns into reliable memories during sleep.

The study was led by Thanh Dang-Vu, associate professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology and Concordia University Research Chair in Sleep, Neuroimaging and Cognitive Health. In it, researchers studied how declarative information like facts and faces get stored after they have been learned. It has to do with brainwaves -- specifically, ones called sleep spindles, which are fast bursts of electrical activity produced by neurons mainly during Stage 2 sleep, prior to deep sleep.

Dang-Vu worked alongside Christophe Grova, associate professor in the Department of Physics, and researchers from the Cyclotron Research Centre at the University of Liège in Belgium. Using medical imaging machines, they were able to assess brain activity related to these waves. "It's hypothesized that sleep spindles play an important role in transferring information from the hippocampus to the neocortex," Dang-Vu says. "This has the effect of increasing the strength of memories."

To get the images they needed, Dang-Vu's team used both electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They applied these tools to a group of student volunteers during and after a lab-based face-sequencing task. The students were shown a series of faces and asked to identify the order in which they were shown. The researchers scanned them while they were learning the faces, while they were asleep and again when they woke up and had to recall the sequences. 

Sleep spindles reactivated
They then came back every day for a week and repeated the task without being scanned. After a week had elapsed, they had memorized the task, and were once again scanned during sleep and asked to recall the sequences. "Our aim was to compare the sleep spindles from the night where the subjects learned the new information to the night where they didn't have any new information to learn but were exposed to the same stimulus with the same faces," Dang-Vu explains.

The researchers found that during spindles of the learning night, the regions of the brain that were instrumental in processing faces were reactivated. They also observed that the regions in the brain involved in memory -- especially the hippocampus -- were more active during spindles in the subjects who remembered the task better after sleep. This reactivation during sleep spindles of the regions involved in learning and memory "falls in line with the theory that during sleep, you are strengthening memories by transferring information from the hippocampus to the regions of the cortex that are important for the consolidation of that specific type of information," he says. Using non-invasive imaging to identify the mechanisms that strengthen memories can, he hopes, lead to improvements in our understanding of how memories work -- and can lead to improved interventions for people with sleep or memory issues.


Story Source:
Materials provided by Concordia University. Originally written by Patrick Lejtenyi. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1. Aude Jegou, Manuel Schabus, Olivia Gosseries, Brigitte Dahmen, Geneviève Albouy, Martin Desseilles, Virginie Sterpenich, Christophe Phillips, Pierre Maquet, Christophe Grova, Thien Thanh Dang-Vu. Cortical reactivations during sleep spindles following declarative learning. NeuroImage, 2019; 195: 104 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.051

Cite This Page:
Concordia University. "Memories are strengthened via brainwaves produced during sleep, a new study shows: Researchers use medical imaging to map areas involved in recalling learned information while we slumber." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190515131750.htm>.