The Benefits of EMDR and Sleep

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. 

How Does EMDR Help?

EMDR replicates what your mind does during REM sleep to help your mind process information in a healthy way. When someone is in REM sleep, you see their eyes moving back and forth in their head. This is called bilateral stimulation.

EMDR therapy actually moves information around – It takes information that is stuck in the back of our brains, which is responsible for the fight or flight response and brings the information to the front of our brains which is responsible for thinking and reasoning. 

What the research says

According to Bessel Van Der Kolk, psychiatrist and trauma researcher, “EMDR should be able to take advantage of sleep-dependent processes, which may be blocked or ineffective in PTSD sufferers, to allow effective memory processing and trauma resolution.”

During REM sleep, your brain processes new learnings and motor skills from the day, committing some to memory, maintaining others, and deciding which ones to delete. According to 

Sleep Foundation, REM sleep plays an important role in dreaming, emotional processing, memory consolidation, and brain development. By adulthood, we generally need two hours of REM sleep a night – and it can vary day-to-day based on energetic needs.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about EMDR or think it could help you or someone you know. And, don’t skimp on your sleep!