Sleep fragmentation and lucid dreaming

Conscious Cogn. 2020 Sep;84:102988. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2020.102988. Epub 2020 Aug 5.


Lucid dreaming-the phenomenon of experiencing waking levels of self-reflection within one's dreams-is associated with more wake-like levels of neural activation in prefrontal brain regions. In addition, alternating periods of wakefulness and sleep might increase the likelihood of experiencing a lucid dream. Here we investigate the association between sleep fragmentation and lucid dreaming, with a multi-centre study encompassing four different investigations into subjective and objective measures of sleep fragmentation, nocturnal awakenings, sleep quality and polyphasic sleep schedules. Results across these four studies provide a more nuanced picture into the purported connection between sleep fragmentation and lucid dreaming: While self-assessed numbers of awakenings, polyphasic sleep and physiologically validated wake-REM sleep transitions were associated with lucid dreaming, neither self-assessed sleep quality, nor physiologically validated numbers of awakenings were. We discuss these results, and their underlying neural mechanisms, within the general question of whether sleep fragmentation and lucid dreaming share a causal link.

Keywords: Lucid dreaming; Metacognition; Polyphasic sleep; REM sleep; Sleep fragmentation; Sleep quality.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dreams / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metacognition / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiopathology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology*
  • Wakefulness / physiology*
  • Young Adult