Neural correlates of dream lucidity obtained from contrasting lucid versus non-lucid REM sleep: a combined EEG/fMRI case study

Sleep. 2012 Jul 1;35(7):1017-20. doi: 10.5665/sleep.1974.


Study objectives: To investigate the neural correlates of lucid dreaming.

Design: Parallel EEG/fMRI recordings of night sleep.

Setting: Sleep laboratory and fMRI facilities.

Participants: Four experienced lucid dreamers.

Interventions: N/A.

Measurements and results: Out of 4 participants, one subject had 2 episodes of verified lucid REM sleep of sufficient length to be analyzed by fMRI. During lucid dreaming the bilateral precuneus, cuneus, parietal lobules, and prefrontal and occipito-temporal cortices activated strongly as compared with non-lucid REM sleep.

Conclusions: In line with recent EEG data, lucid dreaming was associated with a reactivation of areas which are normally deactivated during REM sleep. This pattern of activity can explain the recovery of reflective cognitive capabilities that are the hallmark of lucid dreaming.

Keywords: REM; fMRI; lucid dreaming.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Dreams / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*