Dreamlessness damaging effects

Those people who claim not to dream at all simply have really bad memories :wink:

Serisouly, if you didn’t dream you would encounter serious physical and psychological problems in a matter of days, or maybe weeks, resulting in death.

Still, I really do wish everyone was able to Lucid Dream with relative ease. I wonder how much it would change the world? :woah:

This is a split topic. It was created from the replies in the “Hi ppl” thread from the “Lucidity Intro” forum.

Needless to say, this interesting discussion requires its own thread.

Enjoy! :smile:

Atheist: Do you have any scientifical documentation that proves that not being able to dream can cause serious psycological problem? I have a friend who claims he doesn’t dream. It would be nice to prove that he must be dreaming, no matter what he says. (note: I’m NOT upset on proving anything for him. I don’t care really much about what he think of dreams, as I don’t think he would be interested in LDing anyway)

And yes, if anyone was able to have regulary full-blown lucid dreams, it would totally change the world. I have a theory about that it would make people become less interested in mass entertainment and drugs (or maybe even more interested in drugs? :eh: ), something which in the worst case (and then I mean worst case :alien: )could cause massive economical collapse and change the world system we have today. But it’s just my view about it, anyway.

There was done some research about this:
They waited until someone entered the REM period, and woke him immediately.
The results:
1.The people who miss REM periods will have extra long REMs the next night

2.If someone is waken up any REM period, he will be more likely to be agressive and has problems to keep attention at something.I think these are the same things that happen when someone doesn´t get enough sleep.

I just wrote this from memory, so I am not absolutely sure about it, but I think in EWLD from LaBerge is more on this



hmm…interessting the thing about longer REMs…think about what you can do with that info :smile:

maybe one or two days setting your alarm or something so you wouldn’t get your REMs as you’re supposed to, then focus hard on haveing lucid dreams on the third night :cool_laugh:

You mean not sleeping? That might be a great idea, wasn’t there somebody who tried it for a while ago on this forum? :smile:

Some POW, prisoner’s of war, were tortured by preventing sleep. This led to serious psychological effects.

Also, in 1959 a radio DJ named “Peter Tripp” broke a world record by staying awake 200 hours. You can listen to some of his broadcast here:


You can read about his psychological effects on goscience.com.au

Most of us here know that dreams most often occur during the REM phase of sleep. A paragraph on: neurologychannel.com page says:

have you ever thought that maybe he goes into REM but dosn’t dream…? Just a thought…

The most I’ve gone is a rough total of 48 hours with no naps (overseas flight, packed, borred, changing climate and timezone, and some physical work) and yea it does hurt you mentally, which leads to a headache. Besides that, jetlag makes your biological clock screw up, so you end up totally messed, and then…Insomnia! I was really frustrated, mad, and couldn’t really think clearly. Too bad I’ll have to learn to deal with this if I am to fly bigger planes in the far… far future.

If you’re friend is not telling bs (no offence) he must be preatty miserable stuck in this ‘reality’ all the time. He’s prob just not thinking hard enough, or not taking it serious.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder During REM, the dream phase of sleep, signals are sent from a part of the brainstem called the pons to the cerebral cortex, the area of the cerebrum responsible for thinking and organizing information. In a person with REM sleep behavior disorder, the signals that the pons sends out somehow translate into the bizarre images that make up dreams. The pons also sends out signals to all the muscles in the body that cause a temporary paralysis. If these signals are interfered with, people will physically act out their dreams though asleep. So if dreaming about running, for example, the patient with REM sleep disorder might actually get up and run, with the potential of causing serious damage to themselves, other people or their surroundings. Though potentially quite dangerous, REM sleep behavior disorder is rare.

Well…how to explain sp happening right when we first go to sleep?or i missed something?

In my inital post, each time I said ‘dream’, I was actually refering to the REM sleep cycle. However, I believe that during this cycle of sleep it is impossible not to be dreaming. I base this on absolutely nothing :wink:

From studies I have seen, commited to memory than forget the location of, it has been proven that failing to enter this cycle of sleep does result in serious psychological problems.

These include hallucinations, both visual and auditory, aggressive behaviour, frequent tempermental changes and an erratic heart rate. During the early stages, this can cause people to harm themselves unintentionally. However, after an extended period of time, the mind can no longer cope with these effects and may shut down essential bodily functions.

This is all simply what I remember reading somewhere, feel free to add anything or correct me.

I suggest scrolling up :ok: and reading the links I posted in my previous reply. Especially this one:

goscience.com.au - Sleep: how much sleep do you really need?

It backs up most of what Atheist speculates. It mentions:

Most importantly it mentions:

Some research to feed the discussion: :wink:

[i]REM sleep - by default?
Horne JA
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 24 (2000) 777–797

Elements of three old, overlapping theories of REM sleep (REM) function, the Ontogenetic, Homeostatic and Phylogenetic hypotheses, together still provide a plausible framework - that REM (i) is directed towards early cortical development, (ii) “tones up” the sleeping cortex, (iii) can substitute for wakefulness, (iv) has a calming effect. This framework is developed in the light of recent findings. It is argued that the “primitiveness” of REM and its similarity to wakefulness liken it to a default state of “non-wakefulness” or a waking antagonist, anteceding “true” (non-REM) sleep. The “toning up” is reflected by inhibition of motor, sensory and (importantly) emotional systems, together pointing to integrated “flight or fight” activity, that preoccupies/distracts the organism when non-REM is absent and wakefulness unnecessary. Dreaming facilitates this distraction. In rodents, REM can provide stress coping and calming, but REM deprivation procedures incorporating immobility may further enhance stress and confound outcomes. REM “pressure” (e.g. REM rebounds) may be a default from a loss of inhibition of REM by non-REM. REM can be reduced and/or replaced by wakefulness, without adverse effects. REM has little advantage over wakefulness in providing positive cerebral recovery or memory consolidation. [/i]

[i]The reinterpretation of dreams: an evolutionary hypothesis of the function of dreaming
Revonsuo A
Behavioral and brain sciences 23 (2000)

Several theories claim that dreaming is a random by-product of REM sleep physiology and that it does not serve any natural function. Phenomenal dream content, however, is not as disorganized as such views imply. The form and content of dreams is not random but organized and selective: during dreaming, the brain constructs a complex model of the world in which certain types of elements, when compared to waking life, are underrepresented whereas others are over represented. Furthermore, dream content is consistently and powerfully modulated by certain types of waking experiences. On the basis of this evidence, I put forward the hypothesis that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events, and to rehearse threat perception and threat avoidance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we need to consider the original evolutionary context of dreaming and the possible traces it has left in the dream content of the present human population. In the ancestral environment human life was short and full of threats. Any behavioral advantage in dealing with highly dangerous events would have increased the probability of reproductive success. A dream-production mechanism that tends to select threatening waking events and simulate them over and over again in various combinations would have been valuable for the development and maintenance of threat-avoidance skills. Empirical evidence from normative dream content, children’s dreams, recurrent dreams, nightmares, post traumatic dreams, and the dreams of hunter-gatherers indicates that our dream-production mechanisms are in fact specialized in the simulation of threatening events, and thus provides support to the threat simulation hypothesis of the function of dreaming. [/i]

[i]One possible function of sleep: to produce dreams
Mancia M
Behavioural Brain Research 69 (1995) 203-206

Among the various functions of sleep, one is particularly significant for our mental life: that of producing dreams. This specifically human experience, which takes place only during sleep, is closely related with neurophysiological events. The coincidence between mental and biological events raises a complex epistemological question concerning the close relationship between dreams, viewed as a subjective experience and sleep, viewed as a vegetative experience which is possible to define from a behavioural, electrical, neurochemical and neurobiological viewpoint. In this presentation, the author criticizes Hobson and McCarley’s internal generator theory, according to which the pons activates the limbic structures responsible for the recovery of memory in dreams, on account of physiological and psychological reasons. The author puts forward a cognitive hypothesis, which considers dreams as a symbolic process of elaborating, interpreting and reorganizing in narrative sequences all the material accumulated in the memory during waking hours. The author proposes, therefore, a psychoanalytical model of dreaming, in which dreams constitute a way of representing the individual’s inner world with internal objects related with one another and with the Self.[/i]

[i]Sleep, Learning, and Dreams: Off-line Memory Reprocessing
R. Stickgold, J. A. Hobson, R. Fosse, M. Fosse1.
Science Vol 294 (2 November 2001) 1052-1057

Converging evidence and new research methodologies from across the neurosciences permit the neuroscientific study of the role of sleep in off-line memory reprocessing, as well as the nature and function of dreaming. Evidence supports a role for sleep in the consolidation of an array of learning and memory tasks. In addition, new methodologies allow the experimental manipulation of dream content at sleep onset, permitting an objective and scientific study of this dream formation and a renewed search for the possible functions of dreaming and the biological processes subserving it. [/i]

Recent research found that we also dream in NREM sleep:
(I have some more on this, but those are at home, and I’m at work now…)

[i]Dreaming and REM sleep are controlled by different brain mechanisms
Solms M
Behavioral and brain sciences 23 (2000) 793–1121

The paradigmatic assumption that REM sleep is the physiological equivalent of dreaming is in need of fundamental revision. A mounting body of evidence suggests that dreaming and REM sleep are dissociable states, and that dreaming is controlled by forebrain mechanisms. Recent neuropsychological, radiological, and pharmacological findings suggest that the cholinergic brain stem mechanisms that control the REM state can only generate the psychological phenomena of dreaming through the mediation of a second, probably dopaminergic, forebrain mechanism. The latter mechanism (and thus dreaming itself) can also be activated by a variety of nonREM triggers. Dreaming can be manipulated by dopamine agonists and antagonists with no concomitant change in REM frequency, duration, and density. Dreaming can also be induced by focal forebrain stimulation and by complex partial (forebrain) seizures during nonREM sleep, when the involvement of brainstem REM mechanisms is precluded. Likewise, dreaming is obliterated by focal lesions along a specific (probably dopaminergic) forebrain pathway, and these lesions do not have any appreciable effects on REM frequency, duration, and density. These findings suggest that the forebrain mechanism in question is the final common path to dreaming and that the brainstem oscillator that controls the REM state is just one of the many arousal triggers that can activate this forebrain mechanism. The “REM-on” mechanism (like its various NREM equivalents) therefore stands outside the dream process itself, which is mediated by an independent, forebrain “dream-on” mechanism. [/i]

How about the positive effects of not getting enough sleep?

Sometimes, when I can not go to sleep, I am just annoyed and angry.
But on other occasions, it can make you feel good, talkattive and you get interesting ideas.
It is very much like a drug:
Either it makes you high or it gets you down.

When I stayed up the whole night and then go to bed I normally can not remember my dreams.But it could be good for WILDs (Never had one)
But I find that when I come home from a party, perhaps at 4 o clock, I can have vivid dreams.

Getting some sleep, but only little is very bad for my dream recall, plus I am getting too lazy to write my dreams down.

So, how is everyones experience with staying awake (concerning dreams and state of mind while awake)


Hypnodude-very nice articles:)And really interesting topic.I read them few times cuz the language used in that articles is way too complicated for my polish brain:)
I do understand most what the articles say(thx my anatomy teacher:) but i have little propblems putting it togheter to understand it all.If anyones bored it would be nice to explain what it means for us lucid dreamers?Is there a message which should be pointed out?Id appreciate it lots:)


Thanks for the articles. I couldn’t help but widen my eyes in shock when I encountered the second sentance in the third paragraph:

Are they implying that only humans can dream? I ensure you this is certainly not true, as I’ve watched my cat simulate her primal hunting urges many times while she has been asleep. Besides, it wouldn’t make sense that only humans could dream.


Indeed not getting enough sleep can cause people to become hyperactive and somewhat unpridictable. At my old job, we sometimes went 48 or more hours with no sleep (Especially around Christmas) and after you get past the incredably zombie-like stage, you suddenly feel like running around and hitting things :wink:

I imagine this psychotic effect is a sign that you are running on low batteries, and should probably get some sleep. It does get fairly interesting though, as you tend to not feel tired at all while this is happening.

You are right: all mammals dream. Some non-mammals do have a REM phase in their sleep, but it is not clear yet if they are dreaming or not.

A thing that is specifically human is our power of selfreflection. We can reflect not only on our actions, but also on our thoughts. This is called metacognition and is possibly a result of our specialisation (read: differentiation between brain hemispheres). Most other species can reflect on actions and input, but cannot think about their thoughts. However, there is speculation about a certain amount of metacognition in more intelligent species like primates and maybe even dolphins.


I think there is something about being tired that people like. I mean look at nightclubs and night-life of the big city. I often feel more open, talkattive like you said, but I don’t know if thats the reason for people to go out at night. Maybe it’s just a custom, but I’m not sure.

That’s an interesting thought.

Personally though, I think people might be more talkative at a night-clubs because of the abundance of women, and booze. Could be just me though.

i’m interested in what role dreams have in evolution.

when i wake up in the morning after having just dreamed, my behavior is different because i dreamed… it’s not like my emotions picked up where they left off the night before…
so whatever is going on inside my brain while i’m dreaming will have some effect (it might be a very small effect) on what i’ll do in waking life.

even if those are small effects, they’ll have huge impact on the fitness of populations, or on an evolutionary scale.