what are the causes for nightmares and sleep walking


Nightmares and sleepwalking can be influenced by different brain processes during sleep. For nightmares, one factor might be the phenomena of P waves, originating from the pons region and connected with the release of glutamate, which could contribute to the random and vivid experiences during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, potentially leading to nightmares. P waves contribute to the activation of different brain areas, which, during REM sleep, can result in the seemingly random content of dreams which might sometimes manifest as nightmares 1.

Regarding sleepwalking, one contributor could be the activity of the locus coeruleus, which normally releases norepinephrine. During REM sleep, norepinephrine release typically stops, which is thought to be beneficial for the brain's processing of experiences and memories. However, in conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the locus coeruleus may not shut down correctly, leading to high levels of norepinephrine that could affect synaptic function during REM sleep. This inappropriate firing might be connected to sleep disturbances, such as nightmares or sleepwalking 2.

For additional insights or specific mechanisms related to sleepwalking, further data from Huberman Lab would be needed, as the current clips focus on nightmares and PTSD-related sleep disturbances rather than sleepwalking itself.

P Waves and Dreams

Gina and Andrew discuss the origins and functions of P waves, which are excitatory events that come from the brain stem and project everywhere in the cortex. They also explore how P waves work together with spindles to cause plasticity and how they may be the underlying reason why REM sleep dreams are random.

Huberman Lab

Dr. Gina Poe: Use Sleep to Enhance Learning, Memory & Emotional State | Huberman Lab Podcast