Dreams from eye movement, not vice-versa

Alright… wierd theory I heard recently that sounded extremely funny. What if everything we think about why we sleep is backwards? What if dreams are products of eye twitching during REM sleep instead of eye twitches being products of dream-eye movement furing REM sleep? This has been supported by the argument that the eye needs to be oxygenated during sleep and it gets the oxygen from a liquid behind the eye. If the eye isn’t moving, the liquid stagnates and the eye looses oxygen. Personally, I think dreams serve the prupose of oxygenating the eye and other things, but what does everyone else think?

That would sound about right. Just like B Vitamins stopped cancer. No wait it causes cancer…Okay you can take them again they stop causing cancer.

Hah hah, right. The same friend was telling me about when his proffessor informed the class the eye was part of the brain (almost all of them didn’t know). And the entire class did a kind of “ooooh aaaaah” thing where they all were amazed. So, now that you know you eye is part of your brain, suddenly your body has a different structure or something? Of course, this feeling makes sense psychologically but it is really funny to watch. The general idea, you put well, is that as we change our minds based on research things seem to change their charctersistics in general as they are reported differently, while all the time they have gad the same characteristics we are just refining out definition. Definitely human nature at work… :content:

Some interesting stuff to read on this, kmcdonald:
I’ll try to look up the complete reports…

Dreaming and REM sleep are controlled by different brain mechanisms.
Solms M - Behav Brain Sci 2000 Dec 23:843-50; discussion 904-1121
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.

Intrinsic dreams are not produced without REM sleep mechanisms: evidence through elicitation of sleep onset REM periods.
Takeuchi T, Miyasita A, Inugami M, Yamamoto Y - J Sleep Res 2001 Mar 10:43-52
The hypothesis that there is a strict relationship between dreams and a specific rapid eye movement (REM) sleep mechanism is controversial. Many researchers have recently denied this relationship, yet none of their studies have simultaneously controlled both sleep length and depth prior to non-REM (NREM) and REM sleep awakenings, due to the natural rigid order of the NREM–REM sleep cycle. The failure to control sleep length and depth prior to arousal has confounded interpretations of the REM-dreams relationship. We have hypothesised that different physiological mechanisms underlie dreaming during REM and NREM sleep, based on recent findings concerning the specificity of REM sleep for cognitive function. Using the Sleep Interruption Technique, we elicited sleep onset REM periods (SOREMP) from 13 normal subjects to collect SOREMP and sleep onset NREM (NREMP) dreams without the confounds described above. Regression analyses showed that SOREMP dream occurrences were significantly related to the amount of REM sleep, while NREMP dream occurrences were related to arousals from NREM sleep. Dream properties evaluated using the Dream Property Scale showed qualitative differences between SOREMP and NREMP dream reports. These results support our hypothesis and we have concluded that although ‘dreaming’ may occur during both REM and NREM periods as previous researchers have suggested, the dreams obtained from these distinct periods differ significantly in their quantitative and qualitative aspects and are likely to be produced by different mechanisms.

Slow wave and REM sleep mentation.
Cicogna P, Natale V, Occhionero M, Bosinelli M - Sleep Res Online 2000 3:67-72
The aim of this experiment was to compare the characteristics of mental activity during REM and Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). Forty dream reports and their mnemonic associations were collected from twenty subjects. The reports were analyzed for structure (number of temporal units, number of report multi-units, and narrative continuity), awareness (reality testing, subjective time), and content (self, setting, laboratory references, number of non-self characters, implausibility, body feelings, number and intensity of emotions, vividness). Associations were classified as episodic and semantic memories. Results showed that REM reports were significantly longer than SWS reports. Minor content SWS-REM differences were also detected, which were more quantitative than qualitative. The collected observations might support the tentative hypothesis that dreaming is a continuous process, which is not unique to REM sleep. Different levels of engagement of the cognitive system are responsible for the SWS-REM differences that were detected.

EEG spectral activity during paradoxical sleep: further evidence for cognitive processing.
Jouny C, Chapotot F, Merica H - Neuroreport 2000 Nov 11:3667-71
Paradoxical sleep (PS), in which periods with (phasic) and without (tonic) rapid eye movements are intermingled, is hypothesized to be related to cognitive processing and dreaming. Based on polysomnographic data from 12 healthy subjects, this study focuses on the spectral differentiation between phasic and tonic periods. Phasic PS periods exhibited decreased theta and alpha power in the posterior brain areas suggesting the interference of visual processing related to dream imagery. Phasic PS periods were also characterized by a shift from beta to gamma activity in frontal, central and occipital areas reflecting specific phasic related activation. Together, these findings bring new evidence for the existence of visual imagery and cognitive processing during phasic PS.

(Thanks to brainhacker for the abstracts! :smile: )

Alright… Sounds great, but I am only a highschool student so let me see if I can get a better idea of what this is all saying in general: There is evidence that REM during sleep without dreams is controlled by the brain stem, and there is evidence that REM during sleep with dreams is controlled by the forebrain. Is this correct?

The four reports

research #1
Dreaming and REM sleep are not equivalent. Those are different mechanisms. REM is controlled by the brain stem, dreaming by the forebrain. Dreaming outside of REM is possible.

research #2
Dreams in REM and dreams in NREM (non-REM) periods differ in intensity and number. The researchers conclude that those dreams are produced by different dream-mechanisms.

research #3
Dreaming occurs in both REM and NREM. REM dreams seem to be remembered better. The researchers conclude dreaming could be a continuous process that is not unique ot REM sleep. But the dreams do not really differ. Only the way we perceive them.

research #4
During REM brain activity is increased. The researchers conclude that this is new evidence for visual imagery and thought-processing during REM.

I hope this clarifies it somewhat.

The real interesting part is not the only the data, but the interpretation of the data.
Especially when you compare #2 and #3.

I have only the complete report for the first research, still looking for the other three… :confused:
PM me if you want to read it. :smile:

Well…far more pssibile for me is that our dreams are somehow connected to hypnagogic imaginery(thing not connected with delivering oxygen to the eye cuz it happens even seceonds after closing them).Same like with dreams-we dont know their nature,we dont know how pictures are created in our brain and we dont know why.
But as to first post.I guess its more than unlikly to be true.

Interesting to make the association with hypnagogic imagery. If the brain stem can control REM perhaps when we try to WILD what we are really doing is focusing our conciousness in our neo-cortex but allowing our brain stem to control our eyes. I haven’t WILDed yet, but I would imagine you tend to have a feeling about your body similar to when you are in a fight and only responding instinctively, or perhaps it is more like a removed feeling in general. Perhaps this is evidence that OBEs are only just you really focusing your conciousness within your neo cortex in such a concentrated manner that your brain stem has main control over your body and you feel “detached” from it. This is degenerating into a WILD/OBE topic, I know, but how do most of you people actually feel in relation to your body during the hypnagogic imagery stage?

Just to clarify my last post.I didnt really make an association to hypnagogics.But in my opinion is much closer to this than to phisyological functions of the eye(by simple creating pictures here and there)
and im bit lost after your last post MCDonald.Actually totally didnt get it.What is the connection between hypnagogics and how the body feels.Sorry its prolly my english but i just dont understand this post.

No problem… I myself thought it was a little jumbled… Here is to paraphrase myself:

Jack said “Well…far more pssibile for me is that our dreams are somehow connected to hypnagogic imaginery(thing not connected with delivering oxygen to the eye cuz it happens even seceonds after closing them).” I didn’t think about this causing hypnagogic imagery, but it makes a lot of sense. If the movement of our eyes causes hypnagogic imagery and we are not doing it on purpose, then it is most likely similar to the REMs controlled by the brain stem that was mentioned earlier. Therefore, what you are really doing while you are WILDing is focusing your concious away from your motor cortex (so you don’t disturb it/wake it up) and allowing your brain stem control over your eyes as opposed to your conciousness having control over your eyes. So, if we can visualize conciousness as the brains EM field then we would be able to see it moving towards the neo cortex during the first stages of WILD and we could also see unconcious neuronal firing across the ocular nerve connection your brain and your eyes. This makes me think of the same feeling we get during a fist fight, of being slightly removed from our bodies as if we have a little less control then normal. I have not yet WILDed but I imagine that the first stages would feel the same, (feeling slightly removed from our body, specifically from the hypnagogic imagery), can anyone agree/disagree with the presence of a “removed” feeling in the first stages of WILD?

All I have to say is phosphenes and form constants. Phosphenes are the little blobs you see when you push in on your eyeballs, and form constants are highly geometric patterns that are sometimes seen during deep trance (only time I’ve seen 'em was directly after an OBE/WILD when I pushed in on my closed eyelids… cool stuff - very hypnotic).

Anyway, it might be that REM manipulates your eyes in such a way (pushing up against the socket walls with just the right drum beat) to create those geometric form constants. The form constants might then put the brain in the proper trance state to experience dreams. If that were the case, the implication would be that an OBE/LD could be induced by watching certain highly geometric patterns as they move around (mine looked like a zig-zagging, thick-lined, yellow-abstract drawing of a bird, with the lines being drawn and erased as I watched). It might also explain why epileptic siezures can occur when watching television.



Depends whatcha mean… I sometimes start to drift off to sleep, where I’ll get weird thoughts running around in my head, and totally lose focus for a bit. And my body does get a very relaxed, almost numb-like feeling to it. But at the same time I’m fully aware of my body…

Since we also dream in NREM, It is not likely that eye movements are needed to induce a dream state.

The reason geometric patterns can induce trance state is because it allows you to focus/concentrate on something without losing consiousness, because it keeps changing and therefore keeps interesting. It ‘sucks you in’. :cool:

Hypnagogia is not just geometric patterns. Many people see ‘normal’ images that are far from abstract. But maybe geometric patterns can be morphed into ‘real’ images.

When we go asleep our input senses are numbed. Normally our nerves always have interference, but this is very little and is overruled by the input we get from our senses.
As soon as these input stops or gets less, this interference is no longer overruled. Your brain tries to interpreted this interference according to it’s learned patterns. And there we have it: the building blocks for hypnagogic imagery and dreams. So rapid eye movement could be of some influence indeed.

However, when you fall asleep and float into stage one (the stage with the hypnagogia) there is no rapid eye movement at all! This makes it not very likely that rapid eye movement is needed for HI.

Since we also dream in NREM (SWS) rapid eye movement is not needed for dreaming. A lot of building blocks for our dreams are internal. Processing stuff from the day and adjusting our model of the outside world.

Just to be clear, I don’t think REM causes dreams, but at the same time I don’t think it’s too far fetched either.

If that set of lab-folks are right, then it’s possible that REM causes REM dreams, whereas NREM dreams & hypnogogic imagery might be caused by another mechanism. From what I’ve read, NREM dreams tend to be more thoughtlike than visual… So who knows? :huh:

But why do our own bodies produce these geometric patterns? Maybe they come hardwired for certain patterns, and seeing the right pattern allows us to concentrate better, and immerses ourselves fully in a dream world… Or maybe not.

The researchers from the 2nd one conclude that REM dreaming significantly differs from NREM dreaming. But the question still remains if this is caused by the eye movements. It is also possible that it is just a brain-state (level of brainwaves) thing.
The researchers from the 3rd one conclude that the dreams do not really differ, but just the way we remember them.

This is were it all gets interesting :smile:
We have some data, but how should it be interpreted?

Does dreaming between REM and SWS really differ? Or is it just the way our consiouness can perceive them due to the different brain states?
We know eye movements follow dream-images as IRL (H. Roffwarg, 1962). But how does this work when it seems that dreaming and REM are caused by different mechanisms. Where do they interact?

Questions, questions, questions…
[% :wink:

McDonald-you wrote:
"If the movement of our eyes causes hypnagogic imagery and we are not doing it on purpose, then it is most likely similar to the REMs controlled by the brain stem that was mentioned earlier. "

That is what i was saying-it cant be true as hypnagogic imaginery is NOT caused by eye movement.Therefore everything what you assume basing on this must be very unlikely.
Just my personal opinion,not here to argue,just to point it out:)