Monday, November 29, 2010

Caffeine Withdrawal Induced LD

Something that I have always noticed during my days of sleeping is the times when I have a horrible caffeine withdrawal headache. I wake up in terrible pain and I remember my dreams very vividly. I never really paid much attention to this besides taking a aspirin and trying to go back to sleep. Apparently there are some really positive uses for such a withdrawal.

Caffeine Withdrawal  Induced Lucid Dreaming (CWILD) is where a person goes to sleep full knowing they will have a headache from the caffeine withdrawal, wake up after a period of time, and take a type of caffeinated substance, and fall back to sleep. The sleeping person subconsciously feels the effects of the withdrawal go away and the person is then in a lucid state.  The caffeine acts as a type of indicator that the person is asleep.

About a year ago R left us a post on the site about a article that he read about dealing with caffeine and how it may increase melatonin production. He said that after his review of the article that it looked like caffeine when induced in small amounts can allow for slower breakdown of the melatonin in the brain. Here we can get the information strait from the article itself:
In summary, caffeine was found to increase the oral bioavailability of melatonin probably due to an inhibition of the CYP1A2 catalysed first-pass metabolism of melatonin. The effect was more pronounced in nonsmokers and subjects with the *1F/*1F genotype.

I also found another article that gives us a little more information into how the whole caffeine process may be helping the melatonin production:
Treatment of cultured rat pineal glands with norepinephrine or dibutyryl adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate causes a six- to tenfold stimulation of N-acetyltransferase. This enzyme converts serotonin to N-acetylserotonin, the immediate precursor of melatonin. The increased synthesis of melatonin caused by norepinephrine treatment appears to be the result of stimulation of N-acetyltransferase by an adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate mechanism.

Caffeine increases the amount of adenosine in the body, and from what the article says is that adenosine has a increase in the conversion of serotonin into melatonin. It truly is a wonder how coffee keeps anyone awake :)

So in the case of CWILD not only is the caffeine acting as a indicator of being in REM or dreaming, but also allowing for the better use of melatonin. From the article this use of caffeine would be better used in non-smokers as well as people with a specific genotype. It may be interesting to also look into the sleeping habits of smokers, as they may sleep less due to the breaking down of melatonin in their bodies.

Over all CWILD is becoming a very effective way of increasing the amount of lucid dreams a person can have. Moonbeam and Pj over at are the ones who working hard on the project and indicate that their use of this technique has increased their lucid dreams to be about 80% effective.

Take part of this discussion over at:

R's original article: