By Ana Verayo, | April 11, 2017
Scientists say that we dream even during non-REM stages of sleep.
Scientists have determined which part of the brain dreams are churned out of, dubbing it as the "hot zone." This region can also predict when someone is dreaming including what they are dreaming about. This new study has also revealed new insight about our consciousness and how it affects our dreams when we sleep at night.
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Scientists suggest that dreams are linked to processing information and filtering out data after being exposed during waking hours to create new memories. Another theory also suggests that dreams are triggered by neurons firing at random when the brain is resting.
During REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep is the time when most of us begin to dream. The brain becomes highly active and mimics wakefulness. Now, a team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has revealed that dreams can also occur in non-REM stages of sleep, which also questions our current knowledge about how the brain works.
During experiments, the team recorded electroencephalography of 32 participants during their sleep. The scientists then woke them up at different times during the night and required them to report their dreams. Researchers were able to link their data with brain activity patterns during observations.
Their results revealed that the participants were dreaming during REM and non-REM stages of sleep, within a specific area at the back of the brain known as the posterior cortical hot zone. High brain activity was recorded with dreaming, and low-frequency brain waves were linked to no dreams.
Scientists were then able to observe the neural activity in the hot zone or posterior cortical part of the brain during dreaming, where they also linked this activity with specific kinds of dreams such as speech, facial recall or movement.
The team claims to have determined the core region of the brain where dreams are created. "By using electroencephalography, we were able to study the cortex which is responsible for higher brain functions. We also discovered how the posterior "hot zone" in the cortex is related to dreaming along with perceptual experiences like seeing a face, speech, and movement," the first author of the study, Lampros Perogamvros of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said.
This new study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
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