30 STASHED IDEAS
Lucid dreaming is defined as being in a dream state but remaining conscious of it at the same time; you know it’s a dream, you know you’re in it, and you can control what you do.
Lucid dreaming happens during REM sleep, and studies have shown that the activation patterns in the brain during REM are similar to those of wake consciousness and self-awareness. Research shows that when lucid dreamers have been asked to perform certain movements, such as clenching their fists, they’ve found electromyographic activity in the corresponding body parts.
As you begin to nod off, your brain enters into four stages of sleep: the first three are NREM, and the final one is REM sleep. During NREM, or slow wave sleep, your brain replays memories. New information is initially channeled to the hippocampus, a small region located deep within the brain that is shaped like a seahorse. Importantly, the hippocampus organizes and prioritizes the incoming information.
In deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid acted like waves on a lake splashing over the brain. During this period, the neurons would gradually stop firing, requiring less oxygen which in turn meant less blood flow to the brain. As the blood flow decreased, the rest of the space would fill with cerebrospinal fluid.
When awake, brain blood levels don’t drop enough to allow waves of cerebrospinal fluid to circulate around the brain and clear out all the metabolic byproducts that accumulate as we function, like beta amyloid, a protein that disrupts neural connectivity in patients with Alzheimer’s.
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