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. 2015 Mar 1;38(3):487-97.
doi: 10.5665/sleep.4516.

Lucid Dreaming in Narcolepsy

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Free PMC article

Lucid Dreaming in Narcolepsy

Pauline Dodet et al. Sleep. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the frequency, determinants and sleep characteristics of lucid dreaming in narcolepsy.

Settings: University hospital sleep disorder unit.

Design: Case-control study.

Participants: Consecutive patients with narcolepsy and healthy controls.

Methods: Participants were interviewed regarding the frequency and determinants of lucid dreaming. Twelve narcolepsy patients and 5 controls who self-identified as frequent lucid dreamers underwent nighttime and daytime sleep monitoring after being given instructions regarding how to give an eye signal when lucid.

Results: Compared to 53 healthy controls, the 53 narcolepsy patients reported more frequent dream recall, nightmares and recurrent dreams. Lucid dreaming was achieved by 77.4% of narcoleptic patients and 49.1% of controls (P < 0.05), with an average of 7.6±11 vs. 0.3±0.8 lucid dreams/ month (P < 0.0001). The frequency of cataplexy, hallucinations, sleep paralysis, dyssomnia, HLA positivity, and the severity of sleepiness were similar in narcolepsy with and without lucid dreaming. Seven of 12 narcoleptic (and 0 non-narcoleptic) lucid dreamers achieved lucid REM sleep across a total of 33 naps, including 14 episodes with eye signal. The delta power in the electrode average, in delta, theta, and alpha powers in C4, and coherences between frontal electrodes were lower in lucid than non-lucid REM sleep in spectral EEG analysis. The duration of REM sleep was longer, the REM sleep onset latency tended to be shorter, and the percentage of atonia tended to be higher in lucid vs. non-lucid REM sleep; the arousal index and REM density and amplitude were unchanged.

Conclusion: Narcolepsy is a novel, easy model for studying lucid dreaming.

Keywords: EEG coherence; REM sleep; dreaming; lucid dreaming; narcolepsy; spectral power.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Polygraphic 30 sec epochs of wake (upper panel), lucid REM sleep (middle panel) and non-lucid REM sleep (lower panel) in the same subject. Plain arrows indicate the voluntary eye movements (signal was left right left right [LRLR] horizontal scanning of the horizon) and dashed arrows indicate spontaneous REMs. EOG, electro-oculograms in phase opposition; EMG, chin electromyogram; O1/A2, monopolar EEG with reference electrode on the right mastoid A2.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Amplitude of eye movements during wakefulness (instructed eye signal), lucid (instructed eye signal and spontaneous rapid eye movements, REMs) and during non-lucid REM sleep. Note that the amplitude of the eye signal was greater when performed during wakefulness than during lucid REM sleep. Spontaneous REMs had the same amplitude during lucid and non-lucid REM sleep, but the REMs amplitude was less than that of the eye signal during lucid REM sleep.
Figure 3
Figure 3
EEG spectral power (log transformed absolute power) during wakefulness (blue dotted line) and during non-lucid (red dashed line) and lucid (black continuous line) REM sleep in all electrodes and all lucid dreamers having displayed an eye signal.
Figure 4
Figure 4
EEG spectral power, as a log transformed absolute power (log mcV), during wakefulness (blue columns), non-lucid (red dashed columns) and lucid (black columns) REM sleep in the various electrode placement sites and EEG frequency bands (delta: 0.5–2.9 Hz; theta: 3–7.9 Hz; alpha: 8–12 Hz; beta: 12.1–30 Hz; gamma: 30–49.9 Hz). Significant differences between lucid REM sleep and other states are indicated with an asterisk.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Topographical distribution (obtained by a spherical spline interpolation) of EEG spectral power during wakefulness (top row), non-lucid (middle row) and lucid (bottom row) REM sleep for different frequency bands. Significant couplings between the electrodes are indicated by the black links (the thickness is proportional to the coherence value). Colors from dark blue (lower EEG power) to dark red (higher EEG power) indicated for each EEG band in the Power line (bottom row).

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