Dreams reflect nocturnal sleep-dependent processes: They are continuous in early-night sleep, and emotional and hyperassociative in late-night sleep

Malinowski, J.E. and Horton, C. (2020) Dreams reflect nocturnal sleep-dependent processes: They are continuous in early-night sleep, and emotional and hyperassociative in late-night sleep. Consciousness and Cognition. ISSN 1053-8100

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Abstract

Contributions of specific sleep stages to cognitive processes are increasingly understood. For instance, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep is particularly implicated in episodic memory consolidation, whilst rapid eye movement (REM) sleep preferentially consolidates and regulates emotional information. Dream content has been shown to transparently reflect these processes: non-REM dreams are more likely to picture episodic memories than REM dreams, and REM dreams are more emotional than non-REM dreams. REM sleep also gives rise to creativity and insight into problem solving, and this is reflected in the heightened levels of bizarreness in REM compared to non-REM dreams. However, across-the-night differences in the memory sources of dream content, as opposed to sleep stage differences, are less well understood. In the present study, 68 participants were awoken from their sleep in the early night and the late night, recorded their dreams and waking-life activities, and answered questions about them. It was found that early-night dreams were more clearly relatable to (or continuous with) waking life than late-night dreams, but late-night dreams were more emotional-important, more time orientation varied, and more hyperassociative, than early-night dreams. These findings have important implications for across-the-night alternating sleep-dependent cognitive processes, and illustrate underlying subjective mental content that accompanies sleep processes such as memory consolidation, emotion-processing, and creativity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 Elsevier. This is an author accepted manuscript of a paper subsequently published in Consciousness and Cognition. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy
Keywords: dreaming, REM and non-REM sleep, the Continuity Hypothesis, metaphor, hyperassociativity
Divisions: School of Social Science
Depositing User: Dr Caroline Horton
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 13:32
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2021 09:50
URI: https://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/799

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