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The Progression of Sleep to Dreaming


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Hello All,

I'm compiling the meta data for inclusion in my next book but I thought I might briefly describe the process here for your blistering criticism before I do.  Well, here go:

The whole of healthy brain function is predicated on it's ability to maintain its metabolic homeostasis, which is its ability to maintain its metabolic balance.  Through conscious cognitive activity, sleep emerges in the brain from an accumulation of interstitial waste (adenosine) which affects its ability to process or metabolize blood nutrients.  This accumulation occurs amid brain volume swelling by as much as 6% from the previous sleep cycle.  This swelling is likely a consequence of increased blood pressure and circulation caused by conscious related activity.  The swelling this increase blood pressure causes narrows the brain’s ventricles and affects the efficiency of the glymphatic processes that remove extracellular waste from the brain. Melatonin production is triggered as a secondary effect of this waste build-up. Melatonin decreases or slows the brain’s metabolic processes, which decreases brain activity and produces drowsiness.

As the brain cycles through increasingly diminishing activity, blood pressure begins to drop and brain volume begins to decrease.  During sleep, brain volume may decrease by as much as 6%.  When this de-escalation of activity in the brain reaches the prefrontal or when the prefrontal experiences sustained levels of decreased activity (stimulation), atonia initiates. During atonia, the brain disengages its muscle readiness postures, which may causes a more precipitous drop in our overall blood pressure as our musculature relaxes and blood flow to our muscles becomes less constricted.  Atonal muscle posture is clearly evinced by male penile erection amid sleep.  

This drop in pressure causes an equally precipitous drop in blood supply to the brain, which creates a metabolic imbalance or deficiency.  Once detected, that drop (deficiency) in brain blood supply triggers activations in the brain to increase blood flow and metabolism. This detection occurs as a consequence of the glymphatic system's efficiency in removing sensory suppressing cell waste (adenosine) and chemistry (melatonin) from the brain amid NREM sleep.  Adenosine and melatonin suppresses the brain's sensitivity to afferent sensory stimuli.  Dreaming occurs as a consequence of the increased metabolic activity caused by its increased sensitivity to stimuli amid atonic sleep. That increased metabolic activity involve the activation of the Glut4 protein which extracts glucose from the brains blood supply. (Seeker YouTube video on How the Brain Powers Thought)

As these activations begin to reach sustained levels affecting our brain's prefrontal, it reengages our body's tonic muscle-ready postures, which may produce full arousal or return the brain state to NREM depending on the brain’s stage of waste removal.  During the early stages of the sleep cycle, the brain may reemerge from atonia and dreaming into a state of NREM.  Because dreaming produces extracellular waste, brain volume may not have recovered, and its ventricles may not have widen sufficiently to effectively facilitate removal of that additional cell waste.  Also, the additional stimuli of tonic muscle posture coupled with the cell waste that dreaming produces, more melatonin may be produced to sustain lower levels of brain activation as the brain returns to another cycle of NREM glymphatic cleansing.  Full arousal and wakefulness may only occur with sustained levels of increased or increasing prefrontal activations due to the removal of chemistry that suppresses brain activity.

 

This is in no way a detailed description of the process but rather the direction the meta data appears to lead.  I await your critique!

Edited by DrmDoc
grammer
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Hello Again,

At the start of this discussion thread I referenced our brain’s metabolic homeostasis with very little context.  My intent was to further but briefly describe how this process is at the basis our perceptual experiences and responses.  In the brain, maintaining homeostasis involves the processes that balance the metabolic impact of our brain’s afferent, perceptual, sensory experiences with our brain’s efferent responses to those experiences.  Essentially, the homeostatic mechanism in the brain is like a scale which balances our perceptual experiences with our perceptual responses.

The neural transference of sensory experience to the brain from our sense organs relies on the extraction of blood nutrients in the brain. Conversely, our brain’s neural responses to those sensory experiences rely on those very same nutrients and extraction processes.  Therefore, metabolic homeostasis regards maintaining a balance of blood nutrients in the brain to power the exchanges between our neural sensory and response processes.  Sleep and dreaming are essentially aspects of our brain’s response processes and, in part, how our brain mediates its homeostasis.

Many years ago, I began my study of the dreaming brain with an interest in understanding the significance of often extraordinary dream content.  Along the way, I learned much more than I'm able to convey here other than to say that dreams are indeed meaningful interpretive responses to stimuli that emerge amid sleep when our unconscious brain function is uniquely receptive to such stimuli.  Perhaps the clearest example for this is rapid eye movement (REM) amid dream sleep, which is a efferent neural response suggesting our brain's unconscious sensitivity to stimuli of a type that affects eye movement.

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