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Radio Shows | Dreams, If Only I Could Remember Them | mp3wmawav

Dreams, If Only I Could Remember ThemHave you ever woken up in the morning, knowing you had a great dream but couldnít remember it?

In mine, I think I won a Nobel prize the same day I won the lottery.

You mean thatís the dream you wish you had.

Actually Iím just like you… all my dreams are fuzzy at best. Yet some people wake up vividly recalling their dreams.

For people more like us, scientists at Caltech may have discovered why dreams are so hard to remember.

First we should tell you how memories are created. Theyíre formed in the hippocampus which is in the center of your brain, but memories are stored in the neocortex, the outer layer of the brain.

People who work in jobs that require extensive memories, such as London cab drivers have a larger than average hippocampus.

In order for memory in the hippocampus to be stored in the neocortex, neurons in the two regions need to be interconnected.

The timing of the firing of the neurons in these two locations also has to be coordinated and precise. So the group at Caltech mapped the firings of these neuronal pairs in rats during sleep.

They were able to detect bursts of coordinated neuronal chatter but only during slow-wave sleep, a dreamless period of sleep.

The researchers noticed that when the rats entered rapid eye movement or REM sleep, which is when most dreams occur, the neurons were firing but they were not coordinated.

That could explain why some of us canít remember our dreams… they werenít being stored in the neocortex.

The study does support the long held belief that memories formed during our conscious hours are stored in the neocortex during sleep and not just during REM sleep.

I still wish I could remember my dreams. Iíd be the ever so popular nerdy scientist.

You got the nerdy part down.

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For more information…

Why Dreams Are So Difficult To Remember: Precise Communication Discovered Across Brain Areas During Sleep is the title of an article in Science Daily that describe the Caltech research that was the basis for this episode.
For more information…

To learn the basics about sleep, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has created a website with excellent information about the brain and the role sleep takes in our lives. It also talks about dreaming as well as providing tips for a good night's sleep go here.

A nightmare is a dream occurring during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that brings out feelings of strong fear, terror, distress, or extreme anxiety. Nightmares are usually in the latter part of the night and wake up the sleeper, who is able to remember the content of the dream.
For more information…

For an interactive tutorial about sleep disorders, go here.


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