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Scientists unravel how and when people dream

Posted on Thursday, 20 April, 2017 | Comment icon 4 comments

Many aspects of dreaming are still poorly understood. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Mark Sebastian
Researchers have been working on a new way to identify the parts of the brain responsible for dreaming.
It's something that we all experience on a nightly basis, yet the fundamental processes behind dreams, as well as the reason that we experience them at all, remain poorly understood.

For a long time, scientists had generally agreed that dreaming is something that takes place almost exclusively during rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep, when the brain is more active.

The fact that dreaming has also been documented in patients during non-REM sleep as well however has since left experts scratching their heads.

Now in a new study, an international team of researchers have made significant strides towards better understanding dreams by conducting a series of experiments on 46 volunteers.

Each participant had their brain activity recorded as they slept and were woken up at various times during the night to be asked about what they had been dreaming about at that particular moment.

By the end of the experiments, the researchers found that they were now able to correctly predict when someone was dreaming or not dreaming around 87% of the time.

"You can really identify a signature of the dreaming brain," said co-author Francesca Siclari.

"It only seems to need a very circumscribed, a very restricted activation of the brain to generate conscious experiences. Until now we thought that large regions of the brain needed to be active to generate conscious experiences."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (4)

Tags: Dreaming, Brain

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Still Waters on 11 April, 2017, 12:41
I hardly ever remember my dreams. That's what I'm like.
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer on 20 April, 2017, 14:55
I seem to have a habit of dreaming that I can't go to sleep. I wake up and it's been hours since I went to bed.
Comment icon #3 Posted by StarMountainKid on 20 April, 2017, 19:07
What's interesting to me is, I remember the last dream I have when I wake up from that dream. Thing is, I'm experiencing or living or aware of that last dream while it is going on. Why am I aware of dreaming that last dream before I wake up? Is it because I wake from it? I'm not aware of dreaming other dreams that I do no wake from. Do you know what I mean?
Comment icon #4 Posted by F3SS on 21 April, 2017, 3:09
Similarly, many moons ago, I went to bed at 11pm and couldn't fall asleep. I'm tossing and turning and keeping my eyes forced shut trying everything to fall asleep.I wasaggravated and anxious as the night went on as I had class in the morning. I knew I'd either be dead tired or just not wake up in time.Nearly every hour on the hour I'd look at my alarm clock through all hours of the night. 3, 4, 5 am. Itwas ridiculous.Finally I just shot up from bed, looked at my alarm clock and it was barely 12 am. I did in fact fall fast asleep at 11 and barely slept an hour. Relieved as I was Iwas am... [More]

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