An electrifying experiment led by Ursula Voss of Frankfurt University has revealed a way to artificially induce what appear to be lucid (or perhaps semi-lucid) dreams as much as 77% of the time.
The method involved "zapping" the brains of non-lucid dreamers while they were asleep and dreaming. Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) was applied via electrodes to the frontal cortex for 30-second periods.
The 27 subjects were awoken shortly after to provide their dream reports and rate them on a lucidity scale.
"They were really excited," said Voss. "The dream reports were short, but long enough for them to report 'Wow, all of the sudden I knew this was a dream, while I was dreaming'."
Having tested a variety of frequencies, Voss and her team soon zoned in on the magic 40 Hz frequency (and to a lesser extent, 25 Hz) as the best trigger for inducing apparently lucid dreams.
This Gamma band sweet spot coincides with earlier research by Voss in which she detected 30-40 Hz brainwaves via EEG in experienced lucid dreamers.
The new claim is that Gamma frequencies associated with heightened awareness are fundamental to lucidity, rather than a by-product of it.
This is the first time scientists have identified a reliable way to artificially trigger heightened self awareness in dreams. Does this mean we could all tap into instant lucid dreams with a portable "brain zapper" in future?
Christian Jarrett, writing for Wired, pointed out that while the participants reported realizing they were dreaming, they were still inexperienced in handling that lucidity, as demonstrated by their average lucidity scores.
The dream subjects were asked to rate their dreams on a measurable lucidity scale, from 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) for the following features:
Even at the most effective Gamma stimulation, average scores were relatively low: 0.6 for insight, 1.3 for dissociation, and 0.5 for dream control:
So although the success rate of tACS is vastly improved compared to old school lucid dream masks like the REM Dreamer and NovaDreamer, both technologies rely on the dreamer to actively sustain their lucidity.
If you decide to invest in a tACS electrical stimulation product, it's also important to invest the time in developing sufficient mindfulness to apprehend, sustain and control your technology-induced lucid dreams.
Even so, Voss' results are truly remarkable. It's an important discovery that Gamma waves are a causal factor in lucid dreaming. What's more, with such a good success rate, tACS stimulation could become a popular lucidity inducer in future, making this brain state more accessible to the wider population.
A lot has happened in the last 5 months. But how did we go from business as usual to changing the face of the entire lucid dreaming supplements industry? It’s a story that I think will interest you – and you might even learn a thing or two in the process. When I was first taken on-board as Chief Lucidity Officer in 2016, one of the first things I was tasked with was taking a good look at our operations and giving things a bit of an overhaul.
To lucid dream is to examine an intensely heightened state of self awareness, with all the senses activated - a uniquely human experience. What's more, lucid dreaming offers profound benefits that touch all of us, no matter our culture, beliefs or life circumstances. Ultimately, I think all of these benefits put together could play a serious role in advancing the human race.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
Years ago, before I had my first lucid dream, I had a very specific idea about what a lucid dream would feel like. I thought it would be intense and magical and a little bit spooky. This turned out to be a pretty accurate representation. Becoming aware in the dreamstate is like entering another world. One where physical laws can be manipulated (there is no spoon, Neo) and your fantasies can come true in an instant. There's definitely something magical about that - and it's as if the lucid dream world is a living, breathing organism that can react to your very thoughts.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...