Scientists discover two genes that regulate how much we dream

on 28 September 2018

Hypnosis has certain parallels with sleep and dreaming, as both involve the presence of Theta brainwaves and, consequently, REM and NonREM sleep states. It is, perhaps, the collateral effect of other brain regions that explains what happens during hypnosis, that make it so effective . . .

Unsurprisingly, there were not Levi's or Wranglers!

Scientists have discovered that through hypo and hyperactivation of the genes  Chrm1 and Chrm3 that they can fragment and reduce REM sleep (Chrm1) and reduce the length of NonREM sleep. It seems logical, if only to me, that these genes play a role in determining the length of each phase, thus creating the cyclic nature of REM and NonREM sleep states?

They could also be instrumental in creating the changes experienced as a result of hypnosis, wherein there is evidence, empirically, of emotional healing and the adoption of new habits/behaviours. Behaviours are a consequence of memory becoming intrinsic to brain function. This apparent Chang in behaviour alters the way genes express themselves and that is a fundamental of emotional healing, wherein the memory remains intact but loses an important emotional context. 

Grief is a good example of this in a natural way, a consequence of the grief process.  When you lose a loved one it can create immense emotional pain, life loses its purpose and we lose hope. But as we progress through the stages of grief, towards acceptance, the pain gets lesser, hope begins to reappear, life once again has a purpose. Shortly after their death anything reminding us of them elicits strong emotion, once we have acceptance, we remember them, still love them, cherish the moments we had together, we just no longer have the intense emotion as often and that too lessens with time. At that point, the new memories, associated with the loss,  have been reconsolidated, as if to different versions of the old good memories! The newly reconsolidated memories while similar, are not the same because we never forget them, we never stop loving them and life is never the same without them but life eventually moves on and so do we!

So, next time you have an emotional meltdown, why not dream of hypnosis! Hypnotherapy stands out as one of the most effective strategic life training methods there is. Most of the behaviours that make life challenging are a result of memory expression and the opposite is equally true. Thoughts, be they bad or good, are subconscious in nature. So it makes perfect sense to use a methodology that addresses the peculiarities of the subconscious mind. If you would like to address any concerns you have in this direction, or, if you just want to take your life, or your business, to the next level, then why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?

For more information on the Free Consultation - Go Here Or, to book your Free Consultation today, you can do so here

The Research: 

Sleep is known to allow animals to re-energize themselves and consolidate memories. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a mysterious stage of sleep in which animals dream, is known to play an important role in maintaining a healthy mental and physical life, but the molecular mechanisms behind this state are barely understood. Now, an international research team led by researchers at the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan has identified a pair of genes that regulate how much REM and non-REM sleep animal experiences.

Sleep is a universal and vital behaviour in animals. In higher vertebrates such as mammals and birds, sleep is classified into two phases, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, our brain is as active as it is during wakefulness, and this stage is believed to function in memory consolidation. Although our knowledge of the neural mechanisms underlying sleep has gradually advanced, the essential molecular factors that regulate REM sleep are still unknown. Now, however, a research team led by Hiroki Ueda at RIKEN BDR and The University of Tokyo has identified two essential genes involved in the regulation of REM sleep. The amount of REM sleep was drastically decreased down to almost undetectable levels when both genes were knocked out in a mouse model. This study was published by Cell Reports on August 28.

Several past studies have suggested that acetylcholine -- the first identified neurotransmitter -- and its receptor are important for the regulation of REM sleep. Acetylcholine is abundantly released in some parts of the mammalian brain during REM sleep and wakefulness. However, it was unclear which receptor or receptors were directly involved in the regulation of REM sleep due to the complexity of the underlying neural network.

For this study, the researchers used cutting-edge genetic tools to modify mouse genes and conduct genetic screening for factors whose inhibition would cause sleep abnormalities. After knocking out a number of genes encoding various acetylcholine receptors, they found that the loss of two receptors -- called Chrm1 and Chrm3 -- induced a characteristic short-sleep profile. These two receptors are widely distributed in distinct brain regions. The knockout of Chrm1 reduced and fragmented REM sleep, whereas knocking out Chrm3 reduced the length of non-REM sleep. When both genes were knocked out, mice failed almost entirely to experience REM sleep but survived nonetheless.

"The surprising finding that mice are viable despite the almost complete loss of REM sleep will allow us to rigorously verify whether REM sleep plays a crucial role in fundamental biological functions such as learning and memory," says Yasutaka Niwa, the co-first author of this article.

These findings strongly suggest that these two receptors are essential for sleep regulation, especially REM sleep, and function in different ways. "The discovery that Chrm1 and Chrm3 play a key role in REM sleep opens the way to studying its underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms and will eventually allow us to define the state of REM sleep, which has been paradoxical and mysterious since its original report," Ueda says.

Story Source:

Materials provided by RIKENNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Niwa Y et al. Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors Chrm1 and Chrm3 are essential for REM sleepCell Reports, 2018 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.082

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "Genes that regulate how much we dream." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2018. <>