Sep 12, 2018

Dreaming in NREM Sleep: A High-Density EEG Study of Slow Waves and Spindles

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Francesca SiclariGiulio Tononi


Dreaming can occur in both rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM (NREM) sleep. We recently showed that in both REM and NREM sleep, dreaming is associated with local decreases in slow wave activity (SWA) in posterior brain regions. To expand these findings, here we asked how specific features of slow waves and spindles, the hallmarks of NREM sleep, relate to dream experiences. Fourteen healthy human subjects (10 females) underwent nocturnal high-density EEG recordings combined with a serial awakening paradigm. Reports of dreaming, compared with reports of no experience, were preceded by fewer, smaller, and shallower slow waves, and faster spindles, especially in central and posterior cortical areas. We also identified a minority of very steep and large slow waves in frontal regions, which occurred on a background of reduced SWA and were associated with high-frequency power increases (local "microarousals") heralding the successful recall of dream content. These results suggest that the capacity of the brain to generate experiences during sleep is reduced in the presence of neuronal off-states in posterior and central brain regions, and that dream recall may be facilitated by the intermittent activation of arousal systems during N...Continue Reading

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Research Subject
Sleep, Slow-Wave

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