Sep 16, 2009

Does the circadian modulation of dream recall modify with age?

Sarah Laxhmi ChellappaChristian Cajochen


The ultradian NREM-REM sleep cycle and the circadian modulation of REM sleep sum to generate dreaming. Here we investigated age-related changes in dream recall, number of dreams, and emotional domain characteristics of dreaming during both NREM and REM sleep. Analysis of dream recall and sleep EEG (NREM/REM sleep) during a 40-h multiple nap protocol (150 min of wakefulness and 75 min of sleep) under constant routine conditions. Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland. Seventeen young (20-31 years) and 15 older (57-74 years) healthy volunteers N/A. Dream recall and number of dreams varied significantly across the circadian cycle and between age groups, with older subjects exhibiting fewer dreams (P < 0.05), particularly after naps scheduled during the biological day, closely associated with the circadian rhythm of REM sleep. No significant age differences were observed for the emotional domain of dream content. Since aging was associated with attenuated amplitude in the circadian modulation of REM sleep, our data suggest that the age-related decrease in dream recall can result from an attenuated circadian modulation of REM sleep.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Research Subject
Sleep, Slow-Wave
Mental Recall
Dream Recall

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