Lucid Dreaming Device
Advancement in technology sometimes makes life easier. It can also add to the complexities of life. Technology for better or for worse is being extended past our waking life and into our dreams. Thats right, lucid dreaming devices are becoming a household community with the promise to give you lucid dreams on command. A lucid dreaming device may be the next step in lucid dreaming, but the question we must ask ourselves is if these devices are making things easier for us or are they increasing the frustrations behind becoming lucid?
Electronic Lucid Dream Induction is a technique to use a lucid dreaming device to assist the dreamer to become aware in the dream. Many devices use stimulating cues to alert the dreamer that they are asleep or in REM sleep with hopes that the dreamer would become aware. Often these cures are flashing red lights or even minor vibrational cues and sounds that are activated once the sleeper enters the REM sleep stage.
The main problem with these devices is in their activation in REM. REM, as we know from research, does not mean dreaming, it’s also not required for lucid dreaming. Many studies have been conducted to try to indicate when lucid dreams typically happen (in REM or NREM sleep stages), and most of these studies are inconclusive. Its very possible that REM is not the period of sleep when we become lucid, but the stages in between REM and NREM are. It’s important to note that REM itself is complicated and hard to detect unless by a trained sleep specialist and EEG machines that cost thousands of dollars. Many algorithms that these lucid dreaming electronic devices use to find out if we are in REM are anything but accurate when determining if we are in REM sleep. The inability to even identify when we are REM makes me very skeptical about the devices basic functionality. There simply is no suitable replacement for a sleep lab available on the market.
Rather than try to alert the dreamer that they are in a lucid state, some devices have stepped beyond the signaling cues and started to use electrodes to produce small amounts of currents through the frontal lobes in the brain for force the sleeper to have lucid dreams. Those making the device’s base this idea off of a research article showing that if an electrical current set in the right frequencies and sent to specific locations in the brain, then it could lead to the dreamer becoming lucid. If you look at the data in the study of its effectiveness, it’s not very promising. You still have a much better chance of becoming lucid using standard lucid dreaming techniques such as the WILD or MILD.
What Are the Best Options for a Lucid Dreaming Device
When it comes to using electronics to induce lucid dreams, the best option seems to be the most basic options. A lucid dreaming device that helps us to remember our dreams such as tablets to write down our dreams, or audio cues and meditation type audio recordings seem to be the most effective. The more complicated tools such as headsets that indicate when we are in REM and pulsating electrodes are not only unsafe to use but can lead to us reducing our comfortability while sleeping and overall reduce our ability to overall improve on continued awareness while sleeping.
When performing my dream practice, the lucid dreaming devices I currently use are:
- A vibrating alarm clock: I can stick this onto my wrist and get a small vibration throughout the night based on alarms I preset. I can wake up every few hours or set a time to wake up and performing my WBTB.
- A sleep mask: Not being exactly an electrical device, this still allows me to know if I am dreaming as my mask is a great reality check. If I can see light or objects with a sleep mask on, then I am pretty sure I am dreaming and become lucid.
- A phone or tablet: I use this to document my dreams when I can’t turn on a light and write down my dreams on paper. I would instead like to write down my dreams in a notebook, but I often find myself not able to read my notes after waking which makes it hard to understand the content of my dreams.
Thats it. No cumbersome lucid dreaming masks that fall off in the middle of the night and no direct currents going through my brain in hopes to produce lucid dreams. I work hard to keep all the neurons I have left.
Personally, I would keep away from electronic devices as much as possible when it comes to lucid dreaming. The methods behind these devices are anything but clear, and many of the devices are comparable to placebo. It also takes away from learning how to naturally become lucid in a dream. If you’re using it as a tool, thats great, but over time its good to take off the training wheels and ride that lucid bike like a badass.
If there is a lucid dreaming device that works for you, thats great. I would love to hear about it and why it works, but for the majority of lucid dreamers out there, the best option seems to be to keep it simple.
Lee Adams is a Ph.D. candidate in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute and host of Cosmic Echo, a lucid dreaming podcast, and creator of taileaters.com, an online community of lucid dreamers and psychonauts. Lee has been actively researching, practicing, and teaching lucid dreaming for over twenty years.
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