AI: Sleep Computational Neuroscience, Dreams, Loneliness, and Predictive Coding

10 Jul 2024

Could dreams provide companionship to an individual experiencing loneliness? Could dreams be distressful? What are all the benefits of dreaming? Are there differences between dreaming and imagination? Why do humans sleep? What does it mean to be lonely? How is this different from isolation? How does the human mind place all these experiences?

"How does the human mind, when the host is asleep and dreaming, build an entire world with an up, down, perspective, plot, conversation, and gravity without the use of the body's senses?"

There are several explorations in neuroscience for answers in these directions, but the consensus is that no one knows how the brain exactly works, to place definite answers to many of these questions.

How the brain works is not simply about anatomy and physiology, which are pretty established, but how the brain designs experiences, to live in the world and to regulate the body.

Theoretical and computational neuroscience continues to explore models, mostly focused on neurons as the central elements for functions of the brain. There are, however, two subsets that can be explored towards approaching answers—electrical and chemical signals of the mind.


Human experiences by the human mind can conceptually be described as two components, one in transport—bearing and going to get, and the other, a destination—to welcome and then give.

Simply, electrical signals, in sets can be described as bearing something to be delivered, but to also pick up at the same destination, while chemical signals can be described as having something, but would be triggered to give it, after permitting what was delivered.

There are several destinations [or sets of chemical signals] on the mind. Destinations include major and minor experiences—delight, despair, smiling, loneliness, fatigue, craving, pain, hurt, all memory, all emotions, all feelings, all modulations, and so forth.

Neuroscience has established that electrical signals are ions, while chemical signals are molecules. Conceptually, in a set, they both interact to result in functions and features that make experiences possible.


Conceptually, a reason humans sleep is to vary prioritization across sets of signals. What this means is that in the totality of [electrical and chemical] signals of the mind, just one set is prioritized in an instance—or has the most attention. This prioritization gives it a lead that makes the set distribute to others.

It also ensures that every aspect of it can be reached and then rehearsal of how it should normally function is done, so that in the event of an anomaly, an alert is rapid—for therapeutic response.

While every possible set may not get priority in the sleep interval, those of internal senses—or bodily functions, often do, most times during sleep. In waking hours, interpretations of external sensory signals dominate priority on the mind, while internal sets stay mostly pre-prioritized.

During sleep or while awake, too much prioritization for a set could reduce the rate at which others may be prioritized, or may strain the set—since a set [or configuration] of chemical signals is a result of different rations provided [in formation] from respective chemical signals. This continuous drip and drip may result in a strain and then loss of efficiency—or quality.

This sometimes shows, conceptually, in the need to change posture or gaze, as the existing one is maxed out.

So, even while awake, prioritization often changes, in instances, across senses. For pain, major depression, and others, there is a feature higher than prioritization, which is the principal spot—a destination that thoroughly dominates other sets, driving the intensity of states—positive or otherwise—conceptually.

During sleep, most of the sets [of signals for external senses] are reset, while those for internal senses get prioritized and then practice what their normality is. This is necessary because there are instances during wakefulness when most are pre-prioritized while toeing the most recent [prioritization] update, to function as usual. This, conceptually, stabilizes the regulation of blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and several other functions.

Whenever it is said that poor sleep causes problems, it is postulated that it could be a result of lack of prioritization by some sets of signals, to obtain functional updates. How? If some sets [of signals for internal senses] stay pre-prioritized for longer than a maximum cycle without prioritization, they may fall outside of their optimal configuration. This may affect their ability to regulate the internal function, making it operate less or more than it should, without knowing [or update] that it is already off range. While this could be mild, if it persists or accumulates, problems may result, correlating the lack of sleep with lack of prioritization, while causing physiological problems, conceptually.

In general, a reason humans sleep is so that different sets of electrical and chemical signals get prioritized, for information on the functional range for regulation of internal senses, so that when they are pre-prioritized [during wakefulness], the last updated information, shapes the limits and extents of functions, to create alerts if breakouts occur. This switch in prioritization also makes sets of signals for external senses with little to no activity, refresh and reset for the next wakefulness cycle. Conceptually.

In neuroscience, sensory relay hubs include the thalamus and the olfactory bulb—for smell and for integration of incoming sensory signals. It is theorized that sleep occurs when sets of [electrical and chemical] signals array in a different way from the regular wakefulness architecture that allows for distributions.

These arrays ensure that when there are ambient sounds, light, smell, or others, they may not get distributed as they should, for interpretation, making sleep effective.

The array has to be quite disrupted, conceptually, for sleep to break. It is when signals are arrayed in this way—from those in the relay hubs, that those in other parts notice that nothing might be coming in and dreams may play out, conceptually.

Simply, for humans to fall asleep, the [sets of] signals at relay hubs change their arrays, so distributive arrangement for interpretation of external senses [while awake] is no longer present. When other sets notice that there are no incoming distributions [from integration blocks], they sometimes free will around in interpretation blocks, resulting in dreams and almost an exact experience of reality, though different, conceptually.


Dreams, conceptually, are a result of the interactions of electrical and chemical signals. Where they follow the same routine, one relaying to the other and taking off again. Signals interact more freely for dreams because there is little to no interference [or wheel] by senses—or reality. Signals can navigate across several paths and destinations, mostly of memory, but including emotions and feelings.

Why does sleep sometimes include dreams? It is theorized that prioritization capacity for sets of signals may determine dreaming. During wakefulness, while sets of signals for sensory interpretations are predominantly prioritized, some sets of internal signals also get prioritized, like during digestion, passing water, drinking water, jogging—breathing and heart rate, walking, and so forth.

This implies that vacillation between sets of signals for internal senses [interoception] and sets of signals for external senses [exteroception] can be prioritized within an interval. Simply, prioritization is interchangeable across sets, for interpretations, though just one set of signals is prioritized in an instance.

During dreams, sometimes, there could be the availability to mirror what happened while awake by prioritization, while there are little to no external sensory inputs. This is a reason dreaming is possible, conceptually. Dreams play interpretation across destinations of chemical signals with little to no inputs. This makes it possible to have events—from memory, with emotion and feeling tags—at times.

Simply, the interpretations are already on the mind. Dreams are states that allow electrical and chemical signals to run relays and stops that result in experiences, from those interpretations, similar to reality but different.

Dreaming while sleeping may also be explained conceptually by the split of electrical signals in some sets. This split is theorized to be more uniform during sleep phases allowing for broader prioritization possibilities.

In brain science, there is the concept of saltatory conduction where some electrical signals leap from node to node, over myelinated axons, going faster.

It is theorized that in a set, some split, going ahead of others to interact with chemical signals like they had before, such that, if the input matches, their processes go on, if not, the incoming one goes in the right direction, correcting the initial perception. This explains predictive coding, processing, and prediction errors.

During sleep, since there are little to no external sensory inputs, the corrections may not be necessary, so the incoming one follows in the same direction [for uniformity], so it is like an all-forward relay by electrical signals, making dreams possible while prioritizations proceed for internal senses, conceptually.

Dreams may be delightful, distressing, or provide companionship depending on what destinations the electrical signals relay to, which could result in those states. Dreams may also be helpful in prioritizing some memories, as well as in keeping a sense of life—so to speak, while deeply asleep.


Loneliness is, conceptually, the absence of relays [electrical signals] at certain destinations [chemical signals]. This absence—at destinations that may indicate companionship, engagement, togetherness, support, community, and so forth—results in the experience of not-there, or loneliness.

This may correlate or not with people being around. It may also correlate or not with things to do. It may be the mind, at a destination or not. It is possible to relate this relay and destination to some experiences to understand what may be responsible and how to fix it in some ways, including options of robots and AI— suggested by some. Loneliness like boredom, emptiness, mattering to others, and so on, are theorized to be effects of sets of signals.

There are several other explanations for dreams, sleep, and loneliness, but this explores conceptual angles, using the electrical and chemical signals of the human mind.

There is a recent paper in JAMA NeurologyAssociation Between Slow-Wave Sleep Loss and Incident Dementia, concluding that, "This cohort study found that slow-wave sleep percentage declined with aging and Alzheimer disease genetic risk, with greater reductions associated with the risk of incident dementia. These findings suggest that SWS loss may be a modifiable dementia risk factor."

There is a recent article in Scientific AmericanWhy Do We Dream? Maybe to Ensure We Can Literally ‘See’ the World upon Awakening, stating that, "When we sleep, we can smell, hear and feel, but visual information is absent—except during REM sleep. About 90 minutes after drifting off to sleep, you enter REM. It begins when neurons in your brain stem, the stalklike section at the bottom of the organ, signal the beginning of two important tasks. Activity of these neurons, for one, paralyze major muscles, preventing the sleeper from acting out what is happening in the dream. Also, these brain cells send messages directly to the visual cortex, which initiates the dreaming process."

There is a recent article in Discover MagazineCan Chatbots Help Alleviate the Loneliness Epidemic? stating that, "What does science have to say about AI friends and loneliness? Not much. However, there is abundant research on friendship. But a chatbot doesn’t choose you for a friend because you’re you. You choose it because you can, to some degree, design it to be what you want it to be."

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