New Drug Could Be the Key to 'Inception'-Like Lucid Dreaming

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 - 11:05AM
Medical Tech
Wednesday, 22 August 2018 - 11:05AM
New Drug Could Be the Key to 'Inception'-Like Lucid Dreaming
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Image Credit: Pexels
Everyone remembers the spinning top and Leonardo's squinting face from Inception, but you might not remember the name of the drug that allowed Leo and the crew to share and control their dreams: Somnacin. Though we haven't managed to pull off shared dreams yet, we may have figured out the key to inducing lucid dreams at will, thanks to a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Lucidity Institute of Hawaii. According to their research, increased doses of a drug called galantamine caused a major increase in lucid dreams in test subjects and even allowed them to control and shape their experiences.

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Lucid dreaming is a hybrid state between waking and deep REM sleep, where normal dreaming occurs. According to some sleep researchers, lucid dreamers can use their dreams to get better at real-world skills, like solving puzzles or performing physical tasks, or to "boost" their creativity. In the new study, different doses of galantamine were given to test subjects and compared to a placebo. Galantamine is often used to treat Alzheimer's, which can affect memory and cognitive ability, but it can also be a major catalyst for lucid dreams: according to the results, 27% of test subjects who were given a 4 milligram dose reported having lucid dreams (compared to 14% who were given a placebo), and that number rose to 42% after a dose of 8 milligrams.

In the 'Results' section of the study (published on PLOS), the authors wrote: "Together our results show that galantamine substantially and significantly increases the frequency of lucid dreaming...Lucid dreams overall were associated with significantly higher levels of recall, cognitive clarity, control, positive emotion, sensory vividness and self-reflection on one's thoughts and feelings compared to non-lucid dreams."

No word yet on whether lucid dreamers can create dreams within dreams.

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