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Sleep and Dreams Are Greatly Influenced by Ambient Temperature


Although there is still much that is not known about dreams, the common hypothesis is that dreams are a means of mentally processing the events of the day. For example, this hypothesis could explain why babies, who are constantly discovering new things every day, spend more than twice as much time asleep as adults. A research team from the University of Bern, Switzerland, has published the results of an experiment showing that the time and timing of REM sleep, which facilitates dreaming, is greatly influenced by ambient temperature.

Dynamic REM Sleep Modulation by Ambient Temperature and the Critical Role of the Melanin-Concentrating Hormone System: Current Biology
Genius Mouse Experiment Reveals How Temperature Affects Our Dreams at Night

Although it was previously thought that we dream during REM sleep, which is a shallow sleep, recent studies have shown that we dream not only during REM sleep, but also during non-REM sleep, which is a deeper sleep. However, more vivid and memorable dreams are those that are seen during REM sleep.

However, if the place where you sleep is excessively hot or cold, it can be difficult to dream. One of the most peculiar aspects of sleep is that the thermoregulatory function is active during wakefulness and non-REM sleep, which is deep sleep, whereas the thermoregulatory function is not active during REM sleep,” said Schmidt, a neuroscientist at the University of Bern, who thought that the brain cannot perform both “the function of processing events experienced that day” and “the The brain may not be able to “process the day’s events” and “regulate body temperature” at the same time.

To determine how ambient temperature affects sleep, Schmidt and his team focused on the hypothalamus, which is located deep within the mouse brain. The hypothalamus, which contains both the thermoregulatory and sleep centers, is ubiquitous with MCH nerves that produce melanin-coagulating hormone (MCH), which had been implicated in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness in previous studies.
The research team prepared mice in which the MCH receptor was disabled by manipulating the MCH receptor gene. They then observed the sleep of normal mice in a temperature-controlled environment. The team found that normal laboratory mice spent more time in REM sleep as the temperature in the environment increased to an appropriate level. On the other hand, mice with non-functioning MCH receptors did not change the duration of REM sleep even when the temperature in the environment increased.

Schmidt and colleagues argue that the MCH is key to the brain’s management of sleep in relation to ambient temperature. Our results show how closely REM sleep, which is associated with vivid dreams, is related to the loss of thermoregulatory function.
The fact that the amount and timing of REM sleep changes with temperature suggests that the brains of dreaming animals, including humans, have evolved to use the energy they do not have for thermoregulation to process information,” said Schmidt. sleep, which optimizes the use of energy by activating important brain functions when energy is not needed for thermoregulation,” said Schmidt.

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