07/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

STUDY: Sleep Helps Us Let Go Of Negative Emotions

Dreams may not be the secret window into the frustrated desires of the unconscious that Sigmund Freud first posited in 1899, but growing evidence suggests that dreams -- and, more so, sleep -- are powerfully connected to the processing of human emotion.

According to new research presented last week at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle, adequate sleep may underpin our ability to understand complex emotions properly in waking life. "Sleep essentially is resetting the magnetic north of your emotional compass," says Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley.

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