Controlling Self-Awareness During Sleep
Changing neural activity in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain can cause a sleeper to become aware of her dreaming state, a study shows.
Most dreams occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase. During REM, a sleeper is generally not aware she’s dreaming and experiences her dream as reality. This is thought to occur when certain parts of the prefrontal cortex—linked to awareness and higher cognitive function—are inactive. Some people also experience lucid dreams; they are aware that they are dreaming and may be able to modify their dreams’ outcomes. Unlike during REM sleep, parts of the prefrontal cortex have been previously shown to be active during the more self-aware lucid dreaming state.