Scientists Have Unlocked the Secret to Controlling Your Dreams
Imagine having the power to be the architect of your dreams each and every night. That may sound like the plot to Inception, but thanks to a recent discovery, scientists have finally confirmed a method for controlling your dreams.
For the first time in history, an independent group of researchers has verified a technique for inducing a lucid dream state, which is when you are aware that you're dreaming and can at least partially control what happens.
A team at the University of Adelaide in Australia tested three different methods with a group of 169 volunteers.
The first method was referred to as "reality testing," and required that participants check their environment throughout the day to see if they were dreaming or awake.
The second was a "wake back to bed" process, which allowed volunteers to sleep for five hours, stay awake for a period, then return to sleep to enter a REM cycle where dreams are more likely to happen.
The third and final method (MILD: mnemonic induction of lucid dreams) also involved a sleep-wake-sleep pattern, but before returning to sleep, volunteers were asked to picture themselves in a lucid dream and to repeat the phrase, "The next time I'm dreaming, I will remember that I'm dreaming."
According to Dr. Denholm Aspy, reality testing alone was ineffective, but when paired with the MILD technique, 53 percent of the participants had lucid dreams during the trial and there was a 17 percent success rate over the course of a week.
"The MILD technique works on what we call 'prospective memory' – that is, your ability to remember to do things in the future," Aspy explained. "By repeating a phrase that you will remember you're dreaming, it forms an intention in your mind that you will, in fact, remember that you are dreaming, leading to a lucid dream."
He added that participants who experienced the lucid dream state also said that they were less sleep deprived when they woke, "indicating that lucid dreaming did not have any negative effect on sleep quality."
Aspy is continuing his research on lucid dreaming (and looking for new volunteers), and he says that learning more about lucid dreaming can have medical benefits, like treatment for nightmares.
On a much more basic level and based solely on my own lucid dreaming experiences, dreams are a lot more fun when you're steering the ship.