Can an app help you craft the perfect dream?

2012-04-20 00:00

WHETHER it is a stroll on the beach, sitting in a tranquil garden or a trip in the space shuttle researchers are testing a new iPhone app in a mass experiment to see if it is possible to craft the perfect dream.

Developed by British psychologist Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire in England, the Dream:ON app plays a soundscape to evoke the sensation of being in a particular environment during the stage of sleep when dreams occur.

There are 20 soundscapes with themes such as Wild West, Space Shuttle and A Trip to Tokyo. After choosing a wake-up time and soundscape, the user places the iPhone face down on the mattress and the app monitors body movements throughout the night.

During the last 20 minutes of sleep, the app plays the soundscape if the dreamer is in Rem sleep, a state when dreams most likely occur. The app activates the alarm when the user is coming out of Rem sleep because there is only a 10-second window when a dream will be remembered, according to Wiseman.

Users are then prompted to submit their dream to the database which will be analysed by Wiseman and his team.

The researchers are also studying whether they can help to induce lucid dreams, which is a state when you are conscious that you are dreaming and try to control the dreams.

Wiseman came up with the idea for Dream:ON while researching the link between external stimuli and sleep.

“I had the idea of giving people a proper night’s dream with the idea really being twofold. The mood you’re in the next morning is related to the last dream you have before you wake up. You put people in a better mood and they’re more productive and happier,” he explained.

— Reuters.

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