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Sleep. 1992 Dec;15(6):562-6.

Slow wave sleep dreaming.

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Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università di Bologna, Italy.


Fifty volunteers slept two nonconsecutive nights in a sleep laboratory under electropolygraphic control. They were awakened for one report per night. Awakenings were made, in counterbalanced order, from slow wave sleep (SWS--stage 3-4 and stage 4) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Following dream reporting, subjects were asked to identify memory sources of their dream imagery. Two independent judges reliably rated mentation reports for temporal units and for several content and structural dimensions. The same judges also categorized memory sources as autobiographical episodes, abstract self-references, or semantic knowledge. We found that REM reports were significantly longer than SWS reports. Minor content SWS-REM differences were also detected. Moreover, semantic knowledge was more frequently mentioned as a dream source for REM than for SWS dream reports. These findings are interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that dreaming is a continuous process that is not unique to REM sleep. Different levels of engagement of the cognitive system are responsible for the few SWS-REM differences that have been detected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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