The function of dream sleep

  title={The function of dream sleep},
  author={Francis H. C. Crick and Graeme J. Mitchison},
We propose that the function of dream sleep (more properly rapid-eye movement or REM sleep) is to remove certain undesirable modes of interaction in networks of cells in the cerebral cortex. We postulate that this is done in REM sleep by a reverse learning mechanism (see also p. 158), so that the trace in the brain of the unconscious dream is weakened, rather than strengthened, by the dream. 

The cognitive neuroscience of sleep: neuronal systems, consciousness and learning

This work discusses neuronal-network and regional forebrain activity during sleep, and its consequences for consciousness and cognition, and indicates possible roles for sleep in neuroplasticity.

The biology and function of rapid eye movement sleep

  • J. Winson
  • Biology, Psychology
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology
  • 1993

A state of confusion in information processing makes the sleeping brain a dream generator

Dreams, generated by the sleeping brain, are one of the most common and fascinating phenomena of human mind. But the role and mechanism of dreaming remain largely unknown. This paper provided the

Alertness, Quiet Sleep, Dreaming

The fluctuation in the electrical activity of the cerebrum during various behavioral conditions, as reflected in EEG waves, evoked potentials, and activities of different types of thalamic and cortical neurons is discussed.

Genes, Sleep and Dreams

This Chapter considers the continuing debate regarding the mechanisms that underlie the cognitive role of sleep, and proposes that sleep harbors decreased and increased plasticity in separate circuits.

Is Dreaming Related to Sleep-Dependent Memory Consolidation?

As testing the functions of dreams directly is not possible, empirical dream research has focused on three areas providing indirect support for a relationship between dreaming and sleep-dependent

A life-sustaining function for REM sleep: A theory

  • R. Vertes
  • Psychology, Biology
    Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
  • 1987



REM deprivation. I. The effect on schizophrenic patients.

The unexpected finding that such abundant dreaming occurs at regular intervals every night strengthened the hypothesis that dreaming might be essential.

The sleep-dream cycle and convulsion threshold

High positive correlations between the two effects across animals (mice more “sensitive” to reserpine were more sensitive to D-deprivation) suggests that the same or closely related mechanisms are involved.

The Functions of Sleep

Theories of the function of sleep and review of sleep research, and study of mind-body relationship. Effects on sleep of stress, activity, drugs. Role of dreaming.

Dream Deprivation: an Experimental Reappraisal

The results included a steady increase in the forced awakenings necessary during the deprivation period, a marked increase inThe percentage of dream time when subjects were allowed to sleep undisturbed and certain behavioural changes summarized as “anxiety, irritability, and difficulty in concentration”.

Cutting the REM Nerve: An Approach to the Adaptive Role of REM Sleep

The hypothesis that REM sleep is involved in information processing seems the most tenable and experimentally verifiable of the hypotheses about REM sleep and can help to organize what has seemed to be a mass of conflicting and contradictory experimental findings.

REM Deprivation: III. Dreaming and Psychosis

THERE ARE many similarities between dreams and the symptoms of psychosis, particularly schizophrenia. Both often display hallucinations, delusions, loss of capacity to test reality, implausible

A conceptual model of sleep.

  • K. Gaarder
  • Psychology
    Archives of general psychiatry
  • 1966
The realm of human and animal psychology is poorly understood to the extent the authors are unable to relate sleep to the rest of the functions of the organism.

Effects of dream loss on waking behaviors.

It is suggested that moderate REM deprivation was accompanied by more positive changes in waking behaviors for Ss whose fantasy tended to be REM-state specific than for those whose fantasy mentation was generally more available throughout sleep and waking states.

Sleep in mammals: ecological and constitutional correlates.

The interrelationships between sleep, ecological, and constitutional variables were assessed statistically for 39 mammalian species. Slow-wave sleep is negatively associated with a factor related to

Paradoxical sleep and the nature-nurture controversy.

  • M. Jouvet
  • Biology
    Progress in brain research
  • 1980