While brain activity during sleep is still largely a mystery, scientists have discovered that dreaming not only consolidates our memories and helps us learn, it may also soothe stressful reactions to bad experiences.

Study subjects who were shown emotionally-stimulating images in the evening and then again the next morning after sleeping reported a significant decrease in their emotional reaction to the images the second time around. Brain scans confirmed the findings, showing reduced activity in the amygdala, an area responsible for processing emotions.

Researchers say that because the brain stops releasing stress chemicals when we dream, processing emotional experiences then makes us feel less strongly about them when we wake up.

So the next time you have a problem? Sleep on it. It may not seem so bad in the morning.

[Scientific American]