Examine: Can A C-Chord Treatment Nightmares?

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Sleeping angel by Uschi (CC0C/Pixabay)

Can a C-major chord assist treatment sufferers of persistent nightmares? A brand new paper by researchers on the Université de Genève says sure.

The paper, printed within the October problem of Present Biology delves into therapies and protocols to assist sufferers who expertise pathological nightmares. Additionally known as Nightmare Dysfunction or ND, sufferers have terrifying nightmares greater than as soon as every week, and it could actually trigger a cascade of different points from lack of sleep to nervousness and temper alteration.

Imagery Rehearsal Remedy (IRT)

Basically, the remedy seems to assist sufferers rewrite the script on scary nightmares by rehearsing optimistic pictures and eventualities that they will insert into the dream.

  • Sufferers follow imagining optimistic alternate options to nightmare conditions, and usually repeat the method every day over two weeks;
  • For this research, that was packed into one IRT session.

The issue: some sufferers don’t reply to the therapy.

IRT + Focused Reminiscence Reactivation (TMR)

For the brand new research, researchers mixed IRT with one other protocol known as TMR or Focused Reminiscence Reactivation. TMR has been round since 2010, when a separate research found that folks have the power to coach themselves to affiliate sounds with particular experiences, and that the impact nonetheless applies whereas sleeping.

  • The individuals have been conditioned to affiliate a particular sound with a optimistic situation;
  • The sound was performed throughout an IRT session — i.e. whereas they have been imagining a state of affairs related to optimistic emotions, to mix each visible and audio stimuli;
  • As they entered REM sleep (the stage most frequently related to dreaming), the sound was performed;
  • The protocol was repeated for 14 nights.

”We requested the sufferers to think about optimistic different eventualities to their nightmares. Nonetheless, one of many two teams of sufferers did this train whereas a sound — a significant piano chord — was performed each ten seconds. The intention was for this sound to be related to the imagined optimistic situation. On this manner, when the sound was then performed once more however now throughout sleep, it was extra more likely to reactivate a optimistic reminiscence in desires,” says Sophie Schwartz, a full professor within the Division of Fundamental Neurosciences on the UNIGE College of Drugs and the Swiss Heart for Affective Sciences, as quoted in Science Each day.

Contributors wore a scarf EEG gadget known as Dreem that registered the levels of sleep, and delivered the sound each 10 seconds throughout REM sleep. A management group was performed the identical sound, however with out prior conditioning (i.e. with IRT solely and no TMR).

What sound did they select? A C69 chord performed on the piano, or C main with a significant sixth and a significant ninth.


Thirty-six sufferers with ND participated within the research. Because the researchers summarized, “Because of this new remedy, the sufferers’ nightmares decreased considerably and their optimistic desires elevated.”

Each teams noticed a lower in nightmares. However, the group who’d related the C69 chord with the optimistic dream situation confirmed a considerably higher impact. The nightmares have been diminished, and so they really started to expertise extra optimistic desires.

  • Earlier than the research, the primary group skilled a mean of two.58 nightmares per week, and the second group 2.94;
  • On the finish of the research, the primary group (IRT solely) have been having 1.02 nightmares per week, and the second (IRT + TMR) solely 0.19.

The group who went by each protocols additionally reported having extra optimistic desires. That impact was barely diminished, however nonetheless noticeable, as much as three months after the top of the research.

”Whereas the outcomes of the remedy coupling will should be replicated earlier than this technique may be extensively utilized, there’s each indication that it’s a notably efficient new therapy for the nightmare dysfunction. The subsequent step for us might be to check this technique on nightmares linked to post-traumatic stress,” concludes Lampros Perogamvros, a privat-docent within the Division of Fundamental Neurosciences on the UNIGE College of Drugs and a senior scientific fellow on the HUG’s Heart for Sleep Drugs.

For musicians and music lovers, it’s solely extra proof of the robust hyperlinks between music, reminiscence, and feelings.


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