3.4 WHAT TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE TO ASSIST LUCID DREAMING TRAINING?
The Lucidity Institute offers electronic devices that help people have lucid dreams. They were developed through laboratory research at Stanford University by LaBerge, Levitan, and others. The basic principle behind these devices is as follows: the primary task confronting someone who wishes to have a lucid dream is to remember that intention while in a dream. One of the best ways to increase a person's chances of having a lucid dream is to give a reminder to the person during REM sleep. In the lab, we found that flashing light cues worked well in that they tended to incorporate into ongoing dreams without causing awakening. You may have noticed that occasional bits of sensory information are filtered into your dreams in disguised form, like a clock radio as supermarket music or a chain saw as the sound of a thunderstorm. This is the same principle used by our lucid dream induction devices: the lights or sounds from the device filter into the user's dreams. In cases of very deep sleepers, we found that it was sometimes necessary to use sound as well as light to get the cues into dreams. The dreamer's task is to notice the flashing lights in the dream and remember that they are cues to become lucid. Because we could not possibly accommodate everyone who wants to come into the sleep lab for a lucid dream induction session and most people would rather sleep at home anyway, we worked for several years to develop a comfortable, portable device that would detect REM sleep and deliver a cue tailored to the individual user's needs.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
The basic definition of lucid dreaming requires nothing more than becoming aware that you are dreaming. However, the quality of lucidity can vary greatly. When lucidity is at a high level, you are aware that everything experienced in the dream is occurring in your mind, that there is no real danger, and that you are asleep in bed and will awaken shortly. With low-level lucidity, you may be aware to a certain extent that you are dreaming, perhaps enough to fly or alter what you are doing, but not enough to realize that the people are dream representations, or that you can suffer no physical damage, or that you are actually in bed.