Dream potentiation

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Dream potentiation is an effect which increases the subjective intensity, vividness, and frequency of sleeping dream states.[1][2] This effect also results in dreams having a more complex and incohesive plot with a higher level of detail and definition.[2] Additionally, the effect causes a greatly increased likelihood of them becoming lucid dreams.

Dream potentiation is most commonly induced under the influence of moderate dosages of oneirogenic compounds, a class of hallucinogen that is used to specifically potentiate dreams when taken before sleep.[3] However, it can also occur as a residual side effect from falling asleep under the influence of an extremely wide variety of substances. At other times, it can occur as a relatively persistent effect that has arisen as a symptom of hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD).


There have been hundreds of studies in which cholinomemetics have been applied locally or systematically to the medial pontine reticular formation to induce and enhance the generation of REM sleep.[4] Some cholinergic drugs induce REM sleep while others potentiate REM sleep.[2][5][6][7][8] However, there is conflicting evidence on whether this effect is limited to people with depression.[7][8][9][10] Aminergic drugs, such as serotonin and/or norepinephrine reuptake inhibiting antidepressants, suppress REM sleep.[2][11][12]. Non-antidepressant drugs, including amphetamines, barbiturates and narcotics, did not show large and persistent reductions in REM sleep followed by a rebound.[13]

Psychoactive substances

Compounds within our psychoactive substance index which may cause this effect include:

See also

External links


  1. Pavel, S., Goldstein, R., & Petrescu, M. (1980). Vasotocin, melatonin and narcolepsy: possible involvement of the pineal gland in its patho-physiological mechanism. Peptides, 1(4), 281-284. https://doi.org/10.1016/0196-9781(80)90003-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pace‐Schott, E. F., Gersh, T., Silvestri, R., Stickgold, R., Salzman, C., & Hobson, J. A. (2001). SSRI treatment suppresses dream recall frequency but increases subjective dream intensity in normal subjects. Journal of Sleep Research, 10(2), 129-142. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2869.2001.00249.x
  3. Oneirogens | http://oneironauticum.com/oneirogens/
  4. Kubin, L. (2001). Carbachol models of REM sleep: recent developments and new directions. Archives italiennes de biologie, 139(1), 147-168. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11256182
  5. BERGER, M., & RIEMANN, D. (1993). REM sleep in depression—an overview. Journal of Sleep Research, 2(4), 211-223. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2869.1993.tb00092.x
  6. Sitaram, N., Moore, A. M., & Gillin, J. C. (1978). Experimental acceleration and slowing of REM sleep ultradian rhythm by cholinergic agonist and antagonist. Nature, 274(5670), 490. https://doi.org/10.1038/274490a0
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sitaram, N., Moore, A. M., & Gillin, J. C. (1978). The effect of physostigmine on normal human sleep and dreaming. Archives of general psychiatry, 35(10), 1239-1243. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/491997
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sitaram, N., Wyatt, R. J., Dawson, S., & Gillin, J. C. (1976). REM sleep induction by physostigmine infusion during sleep. Science, 191(4233), 1281-1283. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/191/4233/1281
  9. Berger, M., Riemann, D., Höchli, D., & Spiegel, R. (1989). The cholinergic rapid eye movement sleep induction test with RS-86: State or trait marker of depression?. Archives of General Psychiatry, 46(5), 421-428. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810050035006
  10. Lauriello, J., Kenny, W. M., Sutton, L., Golshan, S., Ruiz, C., Kelsoe, J., ... & Gillin, J. C. (1993). The cholinergic REM sleep induction test with pilocarpine in mildly depressed patients and normal controls. Biological psychiatry, 33(1), 33-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3223(93)90275-I
  11. Sharpley, A. L., & Cowen, P. J. (1995). Effect of pharmacologic treatments on the sleep of depressed patients. Biological psychiatry, 37(2), 85-98. https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3223(94)00135-P
  12. Trivedi, M. H., Rush, A. J., Armitage, R., Gullion, C. M., Grannemann, B. D., Orsulak, P. J., & Roffwarg, H. P. (1999). Effects of fluoxetine on the polysomnogram in outpatients with major depression. Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(5), 447-459. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0893-133X(98)00131-6
  13. Vogel, G. W., Buffenstein, A., Minter, K., & Hennessey, A. (1990). Drug effects on REM sleep and on endogenous depression. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 14(1), 49-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0149-7634(05)80159-9