Why we forget our dreams: Acetylcholine and norepinephrine in wakefulness and REM sleep

Behav Brain Sci. 2016 Jan;39:e202. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X15001739.


The ascending fibers releasing norepinephrine and acetylcholine are highly active during wakefulness. In contrast, during rapid-eye-movement sleep, the neocortical tone is sustained mainly by acetylcholine. By comparing the different physiological features of the norepinephrine and acetylcholine systems in the light of the GANE (glutamate amplifies noradrenergic effects) model, we suggest how to interpret some functional differences between waking and rapid-eye-movement sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology*
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Humans
  • Norepinephrine / physiology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Acetylcholine
  • Norepinephrine