Confused-Wakings: What Are They and the Sleep Brain Waves That Cause Them (Part 2)

Have you ever awakened from a deep sleep confused?  Rather than shutting off the alarm clock did you grab your phone and start taking to the dial tone? You may have experienced a sleep disorder known as Confused Waking, a result of the Theta Dream Level gone awry.

What is the scientific research behind confused waking  sleep disorders?

               Scientists who study sleep science, use an EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure the electrical activity of neurons in the brain during sleep. The five brainwave states that have been observed in humans and animals are referred to by the various different oscillatory patterns in this neural activity, measured in cycles, or Hertz (Hz), just like the hertz and mega hertz on a radio tuner.


               Each wave pattern is assigned a letter from the Greek alphabet, from alpha all the way to gamma, and is associated with a level of neural activity from full consciousness to deep sleep.

               There are five brainwave states that have been observed and documented in humans and primates.  This article will touch on all of them but focus on the ones associated with sleep. Brainwaves have the potential to tell us much about how consciousness operates in waking and sleeping states of existence.


-Delta (<4Hz): delta is the state of lowest brain activity, and normally occurs only during deep non-REM (Rapid eye Movement)  sleep.


-Theta (4-7 Hz): theta waves occur during REM and lighter states of sleep, in deep meditation, trance states and states of active visualization. The theta state refers to the level of activity in the brain that occurs during sleep and dreaming. Observing the brain’s transition into a theta state may give researchers a window on how the brain can achieve lucid dreams through inducing theta waves. Some researchers have speculated that in lucid dreaming, the brain may actually transition directly from a theta state to a high activity gamma state.  Researchers also suggests that Thet occurs during the transition from sleep to wakefulness and vice versa, typically in a one-second burst.

-Gamma (25-100 Hz; 40 Hz typical): the highest frequency of brainwaves associated with high-level cognitive activity and information synthesis, and may also occur in lucid dreaming. Gamma states have been observed in with Buddhist monks with decades of meditation experience, which suggests achieving a gamma level of brain activity is a trainable skill, much like lucid dreaming itself.

Alpha and Beta frequencies are seen in waking states.


-Alpha (8-13 Hz): a low-activity waking state.

-Beta (13-25 Hz): beta waves represent the working state of the brain when someone engages in active thinking and problem solving.


Many dreamers experience confused-waking on a small level at some time in their life, often during times they are medicated or under stress. Switching from a deep Theta dream level to the Alpha waking state can occasionally create a state of confused-waking when you are "caught in the middle." The good news is, usually your feeling of  disconnect and confusion are temporary and pass within a few seconds.


BIO: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos believes dreams diagnose your life. Did you have a déjà- vu or did your dream come true? Kat survived three cancers diagnosed by her dreams. International bestselling author, inspirational speaker, radio-host, columnist, blogger, Cancer Hotline Counselor; she has been featured on radio and TV, in magazines and newspapers, SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing is the first in her three book series on waking up to healing dreams. Kat taught Special Education and Psychology at (USF) University of South Florida. ;

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