Dement and Kleitman (1)
Background: It is possible to see at times the eyes of a sleeping person moving. These periods of prolonged rapid eye movements (REM) were thought by Dement and Kleitman to have some connection with dreaming. It seems that all humans dream but dreams are easily forgotten. Freud argued that the function of dreaming was to preserve sleep by unconsciously fulfilling wishes which would otherwise upset and therefore disturb the sleeper. Freud therefore argued that dreams are the ‘royal road to the unconscious’, meaning that dreams allow therapists to have an insight into their clients’ unconscious thoughts. During a typical night a sleeper passes through different levels of sleep in a cyclic fashion between 5 and 7 times. Level 1 and 2 are light sleep characterised by irregular EEG patterns. Level 3 and 4 are deeper levels and are characterised by regular wave patterns. Stage 4 is called slow wave sleep or deep sleep. After stage 4 the sleeper goes back up the ‘sleep staircase’ to stage 2 and there is a period of REM sleep lasting for about 15 to 20 minutes. These sleep states alternate during the night starting with a rapid descent into deep sleep, followed by progressively increased episodes of lighter sleep and REM sleep.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between eye movements and dreaming.
The study had three hypotheses: 1. There will be a significant association between REM sleep and dreaming. 2. There will be a significant positive correlation between the estimate of the duration of dreams and the length of eye-movement. 3. There will be a significant association between the pattern of eye movement and the context of the dream