Activity 14.4 Cat, Dog, and Human Sleep Activity

Part 1: A cat acting out its dreams after a brain lesion

  1. This cat, which had received a lesion near the locus coeruleus, displays normal behavior while awake.
  2. After falling into slow wave sleep, the cat enters REM sleep and begins to raise its head. Notice that the eyes are partially closed. The “inner eyelids” that cats have, the nictitating membrane, is also partially closed over the eyes. The cat seems to notice something moving about and pounces on an object that is not there. Presumably, the cat is dreaming about pouncing on some object, perhaps a particularly tasty-looking mouse.

Part 2: A dog acting out its dreams from a spontaneous condition

This dog was a pet and did not receive any brain lesion, but developed this condition spontaneously. After falling into slow wave sleep, the dog enters REM sleep and begins running, eventually partially righting itself up before lying down to run a bit more.

Part 3: REM Behavior Disorder (RBD)

This gentleman was brought to the sleep lab because he began showing vigorous activity during sleep at home. EEG recordings revealed that it was during REM sleep that he sometimes began running frantically, fighting some unseen foe that is presumably a product of his dreaming. These are the symptoms of REM Behavior Disorder (RBD).

Textbook Reference: At Least Four Interacting Neural Systems Underlie Sleep pp. 433–438