For this issue, we will be looking at the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine & Dreams also further research and my own personal study and hypothesis on why we dream. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages between brain cells. Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep, when acetylcholine levels are high, as they also are during alert wakefulness. By observing the effects of deficiencies, scientists know that acetylcholine is essential to sleep, dreaming, learning, and memory, although the precise nature of the connection is unclear. A healthy diet gives you all you need but increasing your intake of foods rich in lecithin and B vitamins might help encourage more vivid dreams.

Stages of Sleep: The healthy sleep cycle progresses in five stages, each with distinctive brain wave patterns. The duration of each phase varies with age but on average, one entire cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Stage one is the groggy phase just before you fall asleep. During stage two, an EEG will show sudden spikes in electrical activity as your brain tries to disengage from the waking state and descend deeper into sleep. Stages three and four are restful when brain waves are slow, strong, and synchronized. Most dreaming takes place during the REM, stage, when blood flow to the brain increases, electrical activity parallels a state of high alertness, and the eyes move as though scanning a scene.

Acetylcholine: The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is a common factor linking sleep, dreaming, learning and memory. When brain wave frequencies are measured by EEG, alert wakefulness and REM sleep appear almost identical In both states, acetylcholine levels are high and the brain appears to be actively processing information.

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Conversely, in people with Alzheimer’s disease, an extreme form of cognitive impairment, acetylcholine-producing brain cells are among the first to die and patients also typically experience significant reductions in the duration of REM sleep. Acetylcholine deficiency, disruptions in sleep and dreaming, and diminishing ability to retain information and form memories are interconnected, Harvard University researchers say.

Jason NEEDS is an author, a certified Psychotherapist.

Dietary Sources: Boosting the acetylcholine in your diet may encourage vivid dreams, but dream researchers advise exercising caution before taking dream-enhancing dietary supplements since they can also encourage nightmares. Foods containing lecithin, often added as an emulsifier to mayonnaise, sauces, and dressings, promote the production of acetylcholine in the body. Eggs, seafood, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, dairy products, nuts, and other foods rich in B vitamins are all sources.

Dream Research: Much is known about the physiology and biochemistry of sleep, yet why dreaming is vital to mental and physical health remains a disputed enigma. Some researchers maintain that dreams are the sleeping brain’s equivalent of deleting junk email to highlight more important messages. Others ascribe great significance to dream imagery, believing it to be the language used by the unconscious to communicate with the conscious mind. Modern pioneers of dream research, theorize that whether asleep or awake, the mind has an overwhelming need to extract meaning from experience. A simpler theory holds that sleep and dreams are simply nature’s way of keeping us out of trouble at night. By observing the effects of deficiencies, scientists know that acetylcholine is essential to sleep, dreaming, learning and memory, although the precise nature of the connection is unclear. Acetylcholine deficiency, disruptions in sleep and dreaming, and diminishing ability to retain information and form memories are interconnected.

Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep, when acetylcholine levels are high, as they also are during alert wakefulness. Last year I did a survey of over fifty different people, asking them if they remember their dreams or not upon waking, I also asked them how their waking life was regarding their thought life, whether their mind was overactive, stressed, more logical, less logical, and whether they were more emotional or less during the day. I developed a hypothesis that those who remembered their dreams upon waking and experienced bizarre and illogical dreams, were actually more logical, less emotional, and not as prone to worry and think excessively during their waking life, on the contrary, those who did not remember having had illogical, morally disturbing, and nightmarish dreams were more likely to experience overthinking and be less logical and have heightened emotions.

There is a theory, that dreaming separates reality from fantasy, our brain is actively distinguishing what is real and what is not, thereby causing our brain to be able to retain logic and discard fantasy by ”flushing out” the unreal via the dreaming process, in short dreaming helps us to get rid of things in our minds that are not true and results in us being able to function mentally at a higher proficiency in our waking life.

My survey revealed that around 84% of people who were interviewed, confirmed my hypothesis that those who experienced lucid or vivid dreaming and those who did not experience conscience lucid, vivid dreaming was as my hypothesis suggested. However there were anomalies in the study I performed, some of those I surveyed had serious mental health disorders which made the hypothesis only work on those with no significant psychological problems such as schizophrenia, psychosis, and possibly bipolar disorder, also autistic individuals showed up as a possible anomaly. Some who were on high doses of mind-altering medication and substance/drug abusers also came up as undependable on the survey. In the end, the hypothesis proved to be highly accurate when questioning individuals with no or minor mental health problems and those of generally, a sound mind who were unaffected by pharmaceuticals or mental illness.

The Bible speaks a lot about dreams and God can speak to us through Dreams etc, but He will not leave us guessing and having to search the internet for answers, it is unwise to try to “interpret” dreams by way of psychics, mediums, and New Age dream interpreters, God gave us the ability to dream more or less to simply clear our brains of “trash” and to distinguish reality from fantasy, when you dream just simply understand that not “Every” dream has a meaning needs interpretation or is from God, there is much more that can be said on this subject but I have chosen to just bring an understanding of the “scientific Hypothesises” to the reader and have a small insight into the vast world of dreams.

“Most dreams occur during rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep, when acetylcholine levels are high…”

Jason NEEDS
Author: Jason NEEDS

A qualified and registered Psychotherapist, based in the United Kingdom. He is one of The MHM Magazine dedicated editors.

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