In this recent study researchers took a close look at how dreams manifest across the different stages of sleep. We used to think almost all dreams occur in REM sleep, but now the evidence clearly shows that dreams also occur in non-REM stages – but the type of dreams is indeed different. Worth a glance for the scientist types.
“This is the first study to use graph theory to show that REM dream reports have more structural connectedness than non-REM dream reports [ N2 ]. Analysis of the word graphs shows that more complex dreams are associated with more connectedness and less arbitrary or random graph structures. Not to depreciate the relevance of traditional methods, but these results are important because they show that computational methods can be applied to studies of dreaming,” said Joshua Martin, first author of the article. The study was part of his master’s research in psychobiology at UFRN, with supervision by Ribeiro and Mark Solms, a researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and the first to show in previous studies that dreams do not occur only during REM sleep.
“Until the start of the twenty-first century, it was taken for granted that dreams occur only during REM sleep and that it wasn’t even necessary to study dreams. REM sleep was studied and that was it,” Ribeiro said. “Now it’s agreed that we dream during both REM and non-REM sleep, but to varying degrees.”