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Desynchronized sleep is characterized by the following dream states:
- High-frequency, low-voltage, brain waves
- Rapid eye movements
Desynchronized sleep accounts for 20 to 25 minute periods approximately every 90 minutes of sleep. During this state of sleep external input is excluded with the exception of the oculomotor pathway and motor output is blocked . In the deeper stage of sleep, synchronized sleep, LC cells are the more active . The findings of the neurophysiologists led them to pose the following theory, "FTG cells and LC cells are able to interact with each other, thereby controlling each other's firing rates, and this reciprocal interaction, or firing, controls the transition from one sleep stage to another, and possibly also the transition from waking to sleeping". According to the theory posed, stimulation of LC cells will result in reduced FTG cell activity and therefore less dream sleep.
Desynchronized Sleep and FTG Cells
FTG cells perform several functions during Desynchronized sleep. Immediately before a REM period, FTG activity increases. Some of the giant cells connected to FTG cells are responsible for eye movement while other FTG cells stimulate the reticular formation above the pons, possibly creating the REM brain waves . Other FTG cells affect cells in the reticular formation just below the pons, thereby inhibiting motor function during the Desynchronized sleep phase.
Desynchronized Sleep and Dreams
Hobson and McCarley discounted the theory that dreams are a result of unconscious fantasies or thoughts expressed during waking hours . These neurophysiologists attribute the bizarre features of dreams as the attempt of the forebrain to make sense of disparate data. The scientists hypothesized that dreams are no more than a preprogrammed, physiological event. McCarley and Hobson stated, "Flying dreams may thus be a logical, direct, and unsymbolic way of synthesizing information generated endogenously by the vestibular system in D sleep". The two expressed their theory in what is known as the activation-synthesis hypothesis first published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Brain centers are crucibles of thoughts, emotions and memories and merely passive responders to the noisy signals sent up from the brainstem. From the biological standpoint, dreaming occurs when the brainstem stirs up strong emotions such as anxiety, elation, and anger.