Dreaming – is DMT joining the neurotransmitters party?

Lab Note #4
Oct 17, 2014

This is an answer to Jason who asked me few things in the comment.

He write:

"Sweet! I was the 50% mark! I would love to find out if DMT is the
compound that creates the worlds in which we live in while sleeping. Also, when an individual is awake and partakes in a heavier dose (not supplied naturally by the Pineal Gland), is that individual dreaming while awake? GOOD LUCK!"



First of all thanks for your contribution : )
Your questions are interesting but quite complex to answer. Short answer is no for both questions.

Let's start from some basis. Sleep is universal, tightly regulated, and its loss impairs cognition. But why does the brain need to disconnect from the environment for hours every day? The synaptic homeostasis hypothesis (SHY) proposes that sleep is the price the brain pays for plasticity. During a waking episode, learning about the current environment requires strengthening connections throughout the brain. During sleep, spontaneous activity renormalizes net synaptic strength and restores cellular functions. Dreams are a remarkable phenomena experiment in psychology and neuroscience, conducted every night in every sleeping person. They show that the human brain, disconnected from the environment, can generate an entire world of conscious experiences by itself. Neurophysiology have advanced current knowledge of the neural basis of dreaming. It is now possible to address fundamental questions that dreams pose for cognitive neuroscience: how conscious experiences in sleep relate to underlying brain activity; why the dreamer is largely disconnected from the environment; and whether dreaming is more closely related to mental imagery or to perception. I'm sorry, but so far there's no evidence that DMT is the cause of lucid dreaming. Your question is legit but still unraveled though. In fact, the different states of sleeping – in which dreaming can happen – are part of a complex phenomena that progressively induce sleep (first reducing consciousness). Inside sleep, consciousness might come back again, that's what we call dreaming. Consciousness is subjective experience. During both sleep and anesthesia, consciousness is common, evidenced by dreaming. A defining feature of dreaming is that, while conscious, we do not experience our environment; we are disconnected. Such states of sleeping (as well dreaming) are triggered by a network of nuclei that releases particular sets of neurotransmitters, which as a consequence inactivate or activate certain areas of the brain. I'd suggest to read some papers about sleep and consciousness but they're already quite hard for the average student. In case you want take a look to wikipedia to understand more on how sleep and dreaming works. If one day you want to give a try also read this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16201007 and this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20079677

Here a nice video about one of the leading scientists in Sleep and Consciousness matters.

Cheers!

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