Are you conscious when you sleep

Are you conscious when you sleep
asdfjklasdf
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 8:02 PM:
Subject: Are you conscious when you sleep
This relates to my other thread about sleep. Most people say you're unconscious, but I did some research and according to most it's not unconsciousness but an altered/diminished consciousness. I got mostly the same answer on a physics forum with some answers that you're unconscious.

So what do you think? You don't remember almost anything from when you sleep (which we know) but it always feels like some time has passed between falling asleep and waking up (unless you were REALLY tired). Some people suggested that you have perception of time. We know you can have lucid dreams in REM sleep and lesser dreams in other stages. Also during dreamless sleep it was said that people ruminate. So do you think you are fully conscious fully unconscious or a mix/subconscious during sleep overall? Also if you are knocked out is there similar brain activity?

Edited by Incision on Jun 29, 2011 - 11:47 PM. Reason: paragraphing
Fred69
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 8:36 PM:

I'd agree with the "partial conscious" idea. Consciousness is largely dependent on thallamic nuclei. They can be in tonic (conscious) mode or burst (sleeping) mode. During the day most are in tonic (but some in burst). When you sleep most switch to bust but some remain in tonic.

Edited by Incision on Jun 29, 2011 - 11:47 PM. Reason: paragraphing
MrSkeptic
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 9:45 PM:

Here's the possibilities of consciousness while dreaming.

1) consciousness has not changed and memory has changed. Memory is how we know time has passed.

2) consciousness has changed and memory has not changed and remains in tact.

3) Both consciousness and memory have changed.

4) Neither consciousness and memory have changed and remain in tact. Some other factor is at play.
Sapientia
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 9:51 PM:

asdfjklasdf wrote:
So what do you think?


I think that this is a question best answered through the analysis of scientific research rather than through philosophical speculation.
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 10:43 PM:

Sapientia wrote:


I think that this is a question best answered through the analysis of scientific research rather than through philosophical speculation.


I wonder if it is even possible to answer this question using science, given that we are talking about first person experience.

Unconscious and subconscious are constructs, but no one has every consciously experienced either. So, what does it really mean to say one is unconscious while dreaming?
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Posted Jun 28, 2011 - 11:41 PM:

MrSkeptic wrote:
I wonder if it is even possible to answer this question using science, given that we are talking about first person experience.


I am confidant that scientific research (e.g. physiology, neurology) regarding the apparent reduction or absence of consciousness during a state of sleep will produce more reliable grounds to support a position than through philosophical speculation.

A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.

MrSkeptic wrote:
Unconscious and subconscious are constructs, but no one has ever consciously experienced either. So, what does it really mean to say that one is unconscious while dreaming?


Consciousness is often described by terms such as awareness and wakefullness. It seems obvious to me that there is a significant reduction in consciousness whilst asleep.

I really do think that neurological research into the mental activity involved in the various stages of sleep will aid one in attempting to form a reasonable understanding of the subject matter.
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Posted Jun 29, 2011 - 7:17 AM:

Yes of course you are conscious when you sleep otherwise you would never be woken up. When you awaken from a deep slumber because of a load noise or movement nearby it is because your ears and senses are conscious which sends signals to the brain which then rouses you from sleep.

It is an altered sense of consciousness! Consequently your brain is actually more active asleep than when you are awake as this is when the major repair and storage shifts up a few gears.
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Posted Jun 29, 2011 - 8:07 AM:

Is it fully windows when you leave the room and the screen-saver comes on, or only when you are on the internet? Hopefully you can see how silly this question about consciousness is, but here are some facts for everyone.

People dream, and at all different levels of what we label awareness. It seems as though the primary function of the thalamus whilst sleeping is to consolidate the data from the days taking, free from the noise of continuous stimuli (ie. short term->long term memory). It does this by blocking the usual sensory routes, and constantly re-propagating data through the short term networks (which looks suspiciously like wakeful data, hence the "dreaming" side effect). This makes sense as it requires much more data recurrence to alter synaptic plasticity through STDP in certain cortical areas, whilst areas like the hippocampus can be altered easily.

I really hate the word 'consciousness' as everyone's personal description is so arbitrary. If you are talking about first person subjective perception, then I think anecdotal evidence of dreaming absolutely confirms this occurring during sleep, but obviously there is difference between sleep and awake. If your question can be put more specifically I'm sure you would get better answers.
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Posted Jun 29, 2011 - 8:11 AM:

Are you conscious when you drive to work and have no memory of the drive to work?

I think we would have to define consciousness to answer questions about consciousness.
asdfjklasdf
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Posted Jun 29, 2011 - 3:50 PM:

If everything you feel during sleep was in your memory when you woke would the memory be different from what you feel if you don't exist?
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