We discuss the relationship between sleep, dreams, and memory, proposing that the content of dreams reflects aspects of memory consolidation taking place during the different stages of sleep. Although we acknowledge the likely involvement of various neuromodulators in these phenomena, we focus on the hormone cortisol, which is known to exert influence on many of the brain systems involved in memory. The concentration of cortisol escalates over the course of the night's sleep, in ways that we propose can help explain the changing nature of dreams across the sleep cycle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience