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Shared EEG correlates between non-REM parasomnia experiences and dreams

Publication year 2024
Published in Nature Communications
Authors Jacinthe Cataldi, Aurélie M Stephan, José Haba-Rubio, Francesca Siclari

Sleepwalking and related parasomnias result from incomplete awakenings out of non-rapid eye movement sleep. Behavioral episodes can occur without consciousness or recollection, or in relation to dream-like experiences. To understand what accounts for these differences in consciousness and recall, here we recorded parasomnia episodes with high-density electroencephalography (EEG) and interviewed participants immediately afterward about their experiences. Compared to reports of no experience (19%), reports of conscious experience (56%) were preceded by high-amplitude EEG slow waves in anterior cortical regions and activation of posterior cortical regions, similar to previously described EEG correlates of dreaming. Recall of the content of the experience (56%), compared to no recall (25%), was associated with higher EEG activation in the right medial temporal region before movement onset. Our work suggests that the EEG correlates of parasomnia experiences are similar to those reported for dreams and may thus reflect core physiological processes involved in sleep consciousness.

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