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Medicine Science

Electric Stimulation Could Help You Control Your Dreams 138

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "A new study suggests that mild current applied to the scalp while sleeping can help people become aware of, and even control, their dreams—a phenomenon called lucid dreaming. Researchers recruited 27 men and women to spend several nights in a German sleep lab. After the volunteers had plunged into REM sleep, a state in which people are unable to move and the most vividly recalled dreams occur, researchers applied electrical current to their skulls near the forehead and temples. This boosted neural activity in the frontotemporal cortex, a brain region associated with conscious self-awareness, which normally gets tamped down during REM. Researchers then woke the participants and asked them to detail any dreams they could remember. People who had received 40 Hz of current were lucid in more than 70% of their reported dreams. The researchers suggest that the technique could potentially be used to help people who suffer from chronic nightmares."
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Electric Stimulation Could Help You Control Your Dreams

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:55PM (#46975649)

    Sometimes in my dreams there is a vague opportunity for sex with hot girls. Most of the time a dream like this occurs, I know it is a dream and want to take control over it to take advantage of the situation. However the more I try to control it, the more I wake up, until I'm finally totally awake before I could actually steer the dream in any direction. So it has often occurred to me that the act of dreaming is not compatible with consciously controlling a dream.

    I wonder if there is a way to individually try out this experiment on oneself. Nothing wrong with some self-controlled dream sex. ;)

  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:59PM (#46975673)
    It's trivially easy to give 40 small shocks per second to the temples. Really, I'm tempted to try this for fun. But a small device that could both detect REM and then deliver the 40Hz stimulation would probably not need to cost more than $10. The theory seems sound, and it really could be awesome! I'd love to see a homebrew version.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:45PM (#46975877)
    I worked hard to develop my lucidity. How did you lose it? For me, it never left, and never needed to work to keep it.

    For me, it started with being able to "change channels". When I didn't like a dream, I'd pick a new one. I could also wake myself up. Working on that for a while, I got to where I could "tweak" dreams. add in things, take them away, play with them.
  • Re:40 hz of current? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sillybilly ( 668960 ) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:25PM (#46976233)
    The brain exhibits electric waves in the extremely low frequency region 5-10-15 Hz, and there have been experiments where submitting someone to such stimuli interferes with normal thought, even such simple things as motor vibration sounds inside a factory, which are inaudible, but create pressure sensations on the skin or chest hairs and other body hairs, or even creating a "beat frequency" between 2 audible sounds, such a 300 and 310 Hz, which will create a 10 Hz beat, and affect the brain. It is strange that these researchers would find 40 Hz affecting the brain, because that seems high. The brain seems like a low 6-10 Hz frequency massively parallel CPU, with much more processing power than a 2 GHz (or 2 billion Hz) regular CPU. By the way back in 2001-2005 I had a bed where there was constant hum from a nearby hospital-like building, and kind of a resonance zone, and unless I moved my head into an unnaturally edge position, I could feel my skull vibrate from the hums, and I was unable to fall asleep at all. I was aware of the ELF(extremely low frequency) stimulus effect on the brain (my high school physics professor taught me about it), but it didn't bother me that much, as the rent was really cheap, and all you had to do was to physically move your head away from the low frequency noise. Especially the russians put a lot of effort into mind control experiments through ELF, but it didn't seem to work or even have any effect back in 2005, other than just plain nuisance from your head vibrating. I can't say that anymore, in 2014, whatever way they figured out telepathy, it does not seem to have anything to do with ELF.
  • by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Monday May 12, 2014 @07:58AM (#46978007) Journal

    By anecdotal evidence, I can verify at least one person can do basic math in her sleep...

    When I was a teen, my mom would frequently fall asleep on the couch. She would also talk in her sleep. I was able to get her to respond to simple questions, and even do basic math, but nothing more than multiplication. I suspect that since those answers were already memorized, it would be different when asking for an answer that required more than a canned reply.

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