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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3.6 ARE THERE ANY DRUGS OR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT STIMULATE LUCID DREAMS?

3.6   ARE THERE ANY DRUGS OR NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS THAT STIMULATE LUCID DREAMS?
A number of substances have been suggested to enhance the likelihood of lucid dreaming, from vitamins to prescription drugs. There are few good scientific studies to test such claims. Lucid dreaming is highly subject to the placebo effect; the belief that something will stimulate a lucid dream is very effective! This is not to say that there are not substances that do, in fact, promote lucid dreaming. We are interested in discovering such and welcome observations from fellow dreamers. At this time, however, we do not endorse any substances for inducing lucid dreams. Many prescription drugs as well as marijuana and alcohol alter the sleep cycle, usually by suppressing REM sleep. This leads to a phenomenon called "REM rebound," in which a person experiences intense, long REM periods after the drug has worn off. This can manifest as nightmares or, possibly, as lucid dreaming, since the brain is highly active. Drugs in the LSD family, including psilocybin and tryptamines actually stimulate REM sleep (in doses small enough to allow sleep), leading to longer REM periods. We do not recommend the use of drugs without proper guidance nor do we urge the breaking of laws.

Friday, December 3, 2010

3.5 HOW WELL DO LUCID DREAM INDUCTION DEVICES WORK?

3.5   HOW WELL DO LUCID DREAM INDUCTION DEVICES WORK?
The Lucidity Institute's lucid dream induction devices are designed to help people achieve lucidity by giving them cues while they are dreaming and also by providing a reliable means of testing one's state of consciousness. They do not make people have lucid dreams any more than exercise machines make people develop strong muscles. In both cases the goal, strength or lucid dreams, results from practice. The machines accelerate the process. Several factors enter into success with one of these devices. One is how accurately the cues are coordinated with the user's REM sleep. The devices' REM detection systems are adjustable to individual variables. Another success factor is how well the cues enter into the dream without awakening the sleeper. A third factor is how prepared the user is for recognizing cues in dreams and becoming lucid. Finally, the user's commitment to performing a reality test on each awakening with the device influences success. All four of these factors are, to some extent, controllable by the device user: adjustment of eye movement sensitivity to catch REM sleep, selecting a cue that enters dreams without causing awakenings, mental preparation to recognize cues in dreams, and resolution to do reality tests. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain a truly accurate measurement of the effectiveness of the devices. Nonetheless, research with various versions of the DreamLight (previous lucid dream induction device that is no longer in production) have shown that it definitely helps people have more frequent lucid dreams.
Because expectation makes lucid dreaming more likely, one might wonder whether the DreamLight is any more effective than a placebo. A study  recently published in Dreaming proved that it is. In brief, fourteen experienced DreamLight users were exposed to two conditions: light cues or no light cues. Subjects thought they were testing two different light cues and did not know their nightly condition (making motivation and expectations constant). Thus, the study examined how much the DreamLight's light cues specifically contributed to the achievement of lucid dreams. More people had lucid dreams on nights when they received light cues (73% versus 27%). Lucid dream frequency was three times greater on nights with cues (one lucid dream every three nights versus one in eleven nights without cues).
An earlier study with a different version of the DreamLight showed a five-fold increase in lucid dreaming frequency when people used the (MILD) mental technique in conjunction with the device, compared with using no device and no mental technique. Using the device without mental techniques worked about as well as just using the mental technique; both cases were an improvement over using nothing.
In summary, at this stage the lucid dream induction devices can definitely help people to have lucid dreams, or to have more of them. Important factors contributing to success are good dream recall (the DreamLight and NovaDreamer also can be used to boost dream recall with the "Dream Alarm feature"), diligent mental preparation, and careful adjustment of the device to meet individual needs for cueing and REM detection. No device yet exists that will  make a person have a lucid dream.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

3.4.1 The NovaDreamer

3.4.1   The NovaDreamer
The NovaDreamer lucid dream induction device works by giving flashing light or sound cues when the user is dreaming. Users modify the device settings to find a cue with the right intensity and length to enter their dreams without causing awakening. In addition, device users practice mental exercises while awake to enhance their ability to recognize the light cues when they appear in dreams. The NovaDreamer includes a soft, comfortable sleep mask, which contains the flashing lights, a speaker, and an eye movement detection apparatus. The NovaDreamer's electronics are all inside the sleep mask. The NovaDreamer uses REM detection to time the delivery of lucidity cue and provides feedback on the number of cues given. It includes the "Dream Alarm" feature to boost dream recall. Users have a choice of a wide selection of cues and receive feedback on the number of cues they receive during a sleep period.
The lucidity cues of the NovaDreamer are intended to enter into ongoing dreams. This can occur in several ways. Cues can be superimposed over the dream scene, like a light flashing in one's face, or they can briefly interrupt the dream scene. The most common (and most difficult to identify) incorporation of cues is into dream stories. Little brother flashing the room lights, flash bulbs, lightning, traffic signals, police car lights: all are real examples of incorporations of NovaDreamer cues. The trickiness of cue appearances underscores the need to thoroughly prepare one's mind to recognize cues via waking practice.
The NovaDreamer offers a second method of lucid dream stimulation. This method arose out of the discovery that while sleeping with the NovaDreamer, people frequently dreamed that they awakened wearing the device, and pressed the button on the front of the mask to start the "delay," a feature that disables cues while you are drifting off to sleep. Ordinarily, a button press would cause a beep to tell you that you had successfully pressed it. However, people were reporting that the button was not working in the middle of the night. Actually, they were dreaming that they were awakening and pressing the button, and the button did not work because it was a dream version of the NovaDreamer. Dream versions of devices are notorious for not working normally.

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