Just as important as sleep is for memory consolidation, sleep is also necessary for the opposite; forgetting things we no longer need to worry about.
This is one common problem that sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, face on a daily basis. The root of the disorder, however, may lie in the sleeping problems that often afflict PTSD sufferers on a nightly basis. Trauma early in life, mood, and anxiety are all good predictors of PTSD in pre-deployment soldiers. Furthermore, researchers found that sleep disorders had a direct effect on the severity of PTSD symptoms once developed. The study showed that disturbed sleep increased the likelihood and risk of PTSD. PTSD then worsens the condition by causing further fragmented sleep, reducing the brain’s ability to consolidate memories properly.
Without proper sleep conditions and quality the brain cannot perform as it is meant to. This study shows that a lack of quality sleep can compromise fear extinction and inhibit synaptic elasticity in the brain, causing sufferers to worry about issues that no longer affect them.