Dreaming May Help You Process Negative Experiences and Improve Your Mood

A new study finds dreaming helps people work through emotionally charged experiences.

Dreaming may help you process difficult life experiences and improve your mood, but the way it works may surprise you. In a new study, researchers found that dreaming prioritizes bad memories and diminishes their severity.

The study included 122 women who were shown a series of negative and neutral pictures and asked to rate their emotional reaction before and after a full night's sleep. Participants who reported dreaming recalled more of the disturbing images upon waking up, but their reaction to them was much less extreme.

The researchers say this shows that dreams play an active role in emotional memory processing and might help us feel better in the morning. One author says these findings might lead to interventions that increase dreaming in order to help people work through hard life experiences.

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