Frequent lucid dreaming associated with increased functional connectivity between frontopolar cortex and temporoparietal association areas

Jan 27, 2023

Lucid dreaming is a unique state of consciousness in which individuals are aware that they are dreaming while they are still asleep. Unlike regular dreams, lucid dreams allow for a level of reflective consciousness and control over the dream. Although most individuals experience lucid dreams infrequently, there is substantial variation in lucid dream frequency.

Despite its rarity, lucid dreaming has been the subject of much research, particularly in neuroscience. The neurobiological basis of lucid dreaming is still not fully understood, but evidence points to the involvement of the anterior prefrontal cortex (aPFC) and the parietal cortex. A recent study has evaluated the neuroanatomical and neurofunctional correlates of frequent lucid dreaming and, specifically whether functional connectivity of the aPFC is associated with regular lucid dreaming.

The study analyzed structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging from an exceptional sample of 14 individuals who reported having at least three lucid dreams per week and a control group matched on age, gender, and dream recall that reported having no more than one lucid dream per year. The results showed that the frequent lucid dream group had significantly increased resting-state functional connectivity between the left aPFC and bilateral angular gyrus, bilateral middle temporal gyrus, and right inferior frontal gyrus. Furthermore, there was a higher node degree and strength in the left aPFC of the frequent lucid dream group compared to the control group. In contrast, no significant differences in brain structure were observed.

These results suggest that frequent lucid dreaming is associated with increased functional connectivity between the aPFC and temporoparietal association areas, regions that are normally deactivated during sleep. This implies that frequent lucid dreamers may have a greater ability to integrate cognitive and sensory information during sleep, allowing for a higher level of reflective consciousness and control over their dreams.

While more research is needed to understand the neurobiological basis of lucid dreaming fully, the results of this study provide insight into the neural mechanisms underlying this unique state of consciousness. While more studies are needed to understand the prevalence of lucid dreaming in the context of Gig Harbor, Washington, it’s an exciting topic that can offer a therapeutic approach for some individuals.