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Does Lucid Dreaming decrease the regenerative effect of sleep?

Does Lucid Dreaming decrease the regenerative effect of sleep?


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After watching this SciShow video on sleep, I wonder about lucid dreaming.

Specifically: Does lucid dreaming and associated directed agency within Lucid Dreaming decrease the regenerative effect of sleep?

That is, if I gained the skill of lucid dreaming - would I be negatively tampering with the brain's autonomous healing processes for the period that I had conscious control or even simply objective awareness during sleep?


It's possible that they do, depending on the intensity of the dream and the amount of brain activity.

For example, if the dreamer is thinking too much or is having a dream that's way too intense, the brain activity goes up and they're not as rested. However, lucid dreaming can be good for sleep if the dreamer creates a more relaxed dream. This can possibly be better for the sleeper, especially if they're someone who experiences nightmares every night.

Basically, it just depends on what you're dreaming about. The calmer and more relaxing the dream is, the better.

Source: -www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com


Yes, when you are dreaming, brain activity increases ( called the REM phase because of the effect of the increased neural activity: rapid eye movements ).

You can tell this by looking at the EEG, from witch we can state that our brain is more active and therefore is consuming more energy, making the regenerative effect of the sleeping less efficient.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_eye_movement_sleep#Electrical_activity_in_brain


We can define synesthesia as two separate senses which are permanently intertwined. For instance, every time you see the number 9, it appears dark green. Or if you hear the word dog, you taste marshmallows.

There are lots of different types of synesthesia defined - some 54 are formally identified - and each individual makes their own personal associations unknowingly during childhood which persist through their adult life. Research has found that authors, poets and artists are 7 times more likely to be synesthetes. Perhaps the ability to link two otherwise unconnected stimuli gives way to such metaphorical thinking as Shakespeare's "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."


2. The ontology of dreams

In what follows, the term &ldquoconscious experience&rdquo is used as an umbrella term for the occurrence of sensations, thoughts, impressions, emotions etc. in dreams (cf. Dennett 1976). These are all phenomenal states: there is something it is like to be in these states for the subject of experience (cf. Nagel 1974). To ask about dream experience is to ask whether it is like something to dream while dreaming, and whether what it is like is similar to (or relevantly different from) corresponding waking experiences.

2.1 Are dreams experiences?

Cartesian dream skepticism depends on a seemingly innocent background assumption: that dreams are conscious experiences. If this is false, then dreams are not deceptive experiences during sleep and we cannot be deceived, while dreaming, about anything at all. Whether dreams are experiences is a major question for the ontology of dreams and closely bound up with dream skepticism.

The most famous argument denying that dreams are experiences was formulated by Norman Malcolm (1956, 1959). Today, his position is commonly rejected as implausible. Still, it set the tone for the analysis of dreaming as a target phenomenon for philosophy of mind.

For Malcolm, the denial of dream experience followed from the conceptual analysis of sleep: &ldquoif a person is in any state of consciousness it logically follows that he is not sound asleep&rdquo (Malcolm 1956: 21). Following some remarks of Wittgenstein&rsquos (1953: 184 see Chihara 1965 for discussion), Malcolm claimed

the concept of dreaming is derived, not from dreaming, but from descriptions of dreams, i.e., from the familiar phenomenon that we call &ldquotelling a dream&rdquo. (Malcolm 1959:55)

Malcolm argued that retrospective dream reports are the sole criterion for determining whether a dream occurred and there is no independent way of verifying dream reports. While first-person, past-tense psychological statements (such as &ldquoI felt afraid&rdquo) can at least in principle be verified by independent observations (but see Canfield 1961 Siegler 1967 Schröder 1997), he argued dream reports (such as &ldquoin my dream, I felt afraid&rdquo) are governed by different grammars and merely superficially resemble waking reports. In particular, he denied dream reports imply the occurrence of experiences (such as thoughts, feelings, or judgements) in sleep:

If a man had certain thoughts and feelings in a dream it no more follows that he had those thoughts and feelings while asleep, than it follows from his having climbed a mountain in a dream that he climbed a mountain while asleep. (Malcolm 1959/1962: 51&ndash52)

What exactly Malcolm means by &ldquoconscious experience&rdquo is unclear. Sometimes he seems to be saying that conscious experience is conceptually tied to wakefulness (Malcolm 1956) other times he claims that terms such as mental activity or conscious experience are vague and it is senseless to apply them to sleep and dreams (Malcolm 1959: 52).

Malcolm&rsquos analysis of dreaming has been criticized as assuming an overly strict form of verificationism and a naïve view of language and conceptual change. A particularly counterintuitive consequence of his view is that there can be no observational evidence for the occurrence of dreams in sleep aside from dream reports. This includes behavioral evidence such as sleepwalking or sleeptalking, which he thought showed the person was partially awake as he also thought dreams occur in sound sleep, such sleep behaviors were largely irrelevant to the investigation of dreaming proper. He also claimed adopting a physiological criterion of dreaming (such as EEG measures of brain activity during sleep) would change the concept of dreaming, which he argued was tied exclusively to dream reporting. This claim was particularly radical as it explicitly targeted the discovery of REM sleep and its association with dreaming (Dement & Kleitman 1957), which is commonly regarded as the beginning of the science of sleep and dreaming. Malcolm&rsquos position was that the very project of a science of dreaming was misguided.

Contra Malcolm, most assume that justification does not depend on strict criteria with the help of which the truth of a statement can be determined with absolute certainty, but &ldquoon appeals to the simplicity, plausibility, and predictive adequacy of an explanatory system as a whole&rdquo (Chihara & Fodor 1965: 197). In this view, behavioral and/or physiological evidence can be used to verify dream reports (Ayer 1960) and the alleged principled difference between dream reports and other first-person, past-tense psychological sentences (Siegler 1967 Schröder 1997) disappears.

Putnam noted that Malcolm&rsquos analysis of the concept of dreaming relies on the dubious idea that philosophers have access to deep conceptual truths that are hidden to laypeople:

the lexicographer would undoubtedly perceive the logical (or semantical) connection between being a pediatrician and being a doctor, but he would miss the allegedly &ldquological&rdquo character of the connection between dreams and waking impressions. [&hellip] this &ldquodepth grammar&rdquo kind of analyticity (or &ldquological dependence&rdquo) does not exist. (Putnam 1962 [1986]: 306)

Nagel argued that even if one accepts Malcolm&rsquos analysis of the concept of dreaming,

it is a mistake to invest the demonstration that it is impossible to have experiences while asleep with more import than it has. It is an observation about our use of the word &ldquoexperience&rdquo, and no more. It does not imply that nothing goes on in our minds while we dream. (Nagel 1959: 114)

Whether dream thoughts, feelings or beliefs should count as real instances of their kind now becomes an open question, and in any case there is no conceptual contradiction involved in saying one has experiences while asleep and dreaming.

2.2 Dreams as instantaneous memory insertions

To ask about dream experience is also to ask whether there is something it is like to dream during sleep as opposed to there just being something it is like to remember dreaming after awakening. Dennett&rsquos (1976, 1979) cassette theory says dreams are the product of instantaneous memory insertion at the moment of the awakening, as if a cassette with pre-scripted dreams had been inserted into memory, ready for replay. Dennett claims the cassette theory and the view that dreams are experiences can deal equally well with empirical evidence for instance on the relationship between dreaming and REM sleep. The cassette theory is preferable because it is more parsimonious, positing only an unconscious dream composition process rather than an additional conscious presentation process in sleep. For Dennett, the important point is that it is impossible to distinguish between the two rival theories based on dream recall the question of dream experience should be settled by independent empirical evidence.

While Dennett shares Malcolm&rsquos skepticism about dream experience, this latter claim is diametrically opposed to Malcolm&rsquos rejection of a science of dreaming. For Dennett, the unreliability of dream recall also is not unique, but exemplifies a broader problem with memory reports: we generally cannot use retrospective recall to distinguish conscious experience from memory insertion (Dennett 1991 see also Emmett 1978).

An earlier and much discussed (Binz 1878 Goblot 1896 Freud 1899 Hall 1981 Kramer 2007:22&ndash24) version of Dennett&rsquos cassette theory goes back to Maury&rsquos (1861) description of a long and complex dream about the French revolution that culminated in his execution at the guillotine, at which point Maury suddenly awoke to find that the headboard had fallen on his neck. Because the dream seemed to systematically build up to this dramatic conclusion, which in turn coincided with a sudden external event, he suggested that such cases were best explained as instantaneous memory insertions experienced at the moment of awakening. Similarly, Gregory (1916) described dreams are psychical explosions occurring at the moment of awakening.

The trustworthiness of dream reports continues to be contentious. Rosen (2013) argues that dream reports are often fabricated and fail to accurately describe experiences occurring during sleep. By contrast, Windt (2013, 2015a) argues that dream reports can at least under certain conditions (such as in laboratory studies, when dreams are reported immediately after awakening by trained participants) be regarded as trustworthy sources of evidence with respect to previous experience during sleep.

2.3 Empirical evidence on the question of dream experience

Unlike Malcolm, many believe that whether dreams are experiences is an empirical question and unlike Dennett, the predominant view is that the empirical evidence does indeed support this claim (Flanagan 2000 Metzinger 2003 Revonsuo 2006 Rosen 2013 Windt 2013, 2015a).

A first reason for thinking that dreams are experiences during sleep is the relationship between dreaming and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Researchers in the 1950s discovered that sleep is not a uniform state of rest and passivity, but there is a sleep architecture involving different stages of sleep that is relatively stable both within and across individuals (Aserinsky & Kleitman 1953, 1955 Dement & Kleitman 1957). Following sleep onset, periods of non-REM (or NREM) sleep including slow wave sleep (so called because of the presence of characteristic slow-wave, high-voltage EEG activity) are followed by periods of high-frequency, low-voltage activity during REM sleep. EEG measures from REM sleep strongly resemble waking EEG. REM sleep is additionally characterized by rapid eye movements and a near-complete loss of muscle tone (Dement 1999: 27&ndash50 Jouvet 1999).

The alignment between conscious experience on the one hand and wake-like brain activity and muscular paralysis on the other hand would seem to support the experiential status of dreams as well as explain the outward passivity that typically accompanies them. Reports of dreaming are in fact much more frequent following REM (81.9%) than NREM sleep awakenings (43% Nielsen 2000). REM reports tend to be more elaborate, vivid, and emotionally intense, whereas NREM reports tend to be more thought-like, confused, non-progressive, and repetitive (Hobson et al. 2000). These differences led to the idea that REM sleep is an objective marker of dreaming (Dement & Kleitman 1957 Hobson 1988: 154).

Attempts to identify dreaming with mental activity during REM sleep have not, however, been successful, and many now hold that dreams can occur in all stages of sleep (e.g., Antrobus 1990 Foulkes 1993b Solms 1997, 2000 Domhoff 2003 Nemeth & Fazekas 2018). In recent years there has been renewed interest in NREM sleep for the study of dreaming (Noreika et al. 2009 Siclari et al. 2013, 2017). This suggests the inference from the physiology of REM sleep to the phenomenology of dreaming is not straightforward.

A second line of evidence comes from lucid dreams, or dreams in which one knows one is dreaming and often has some level of dream control (Voss et al. 2013 Voss & Hobson 2015 Baird et al. 2019). The term lucid dreaming was coined by van Eeden (1913), but Aristotle (On Dreams) already noted that one can sometimes be aware while dreaming that one is dreaming.

Scientific evidence that lucid dreaming is real and a genuine sleep phenomenon comes from laboratory studies (Hearne 1978 LaBerge et al. 1981) showing lucid dreamers can use specific, pre-arranged patterns of eye movements (e.g., right-left-right-left) to signal in real-time that they are now lucid and engaging in dream experiments. These signals are clearly identifiable on the EOG and suggest a correspondence between dream-eye movements and real-eye movements (as predicted by the so-called scanning hypothesis see Dement & Kleitman 1957 Leclair-Visonneau et al. 2010). Retrospective reports confirm that the dreamer really was lucid and signalled lucidity (Dresler et al. 2012 Stumbrys et al. 2014).

Signal-verified lucid dreams have been used to study muscular activity accompanying body movements in dreams (Erlacher et al. 2003 Dresler et al. 2011), for advanced EEG analysis of brain activity during lucid dreaming (Voss et al. 2009), and imaging studies (Dresler et al. 2011, 2012). Eye signals can also be used to measure the duration of different activities performed in lucid dreams contrary to the cassette theory, lucid dreams have temporal extension and certain dream actions even seem to take slightly longer than in waking (Erlacher et al. 2014). There have also been attempts to induce lucidity through non-invasive electrical stimulation during sleep (Stumbrys et al. 2013 Voss et al. 2014). The combination of signal-verified lucid dreaming with volitional control over dream content, retrospective report, and objective sleep measures has been proposed to provide controlled conditions for the study of conscious experience in sleep and a new methodology for investigating the relationship between conscious experience and neurophysiological processes (Baird et al.2019).

A third line of evidence (Revonsuo 2006: 77) comes from dream-enactment behavior (Nielsen et al. 2009), most prominently in patients with REM-sleep behavior disorder (RBD Schenck & Mahowald 1996 Schenck 2005 Leclair-Visonneau et al. 2010). Due to a loss of the muscular atonia that accompanies REM sleep in healthy subjects, these patients show complex, seemingly goal-directed outward behaviors such as running or fighting off an attacker during REM sleep. Retrospective dream reports often match these behaviors, suggesting that patients literally act out their dreams during sleep.

While persuasive, these lines of evidence might not satisfy skeptics about dream experience. They might worry that results from lucid dreaming and dream enactment do not generalize to ordinary, non-lucid dreams they might also construe alternative explanations that do not require conscious experience in sleep. There are also methodological concerns, for instance about how closely sleep-behaviors actually match dream experience. A key issue is that to support the experiential status of dreams, evidence from sleep polysomnography, signal verified lucid dreams, or sleep behavior requires convergence with retrospective dream reports. This means trusting dream reports is built into any attempt to empirically resolve the question of dream experience &ndash which then invites the familiar skeptical concerns. Again, an anti-skeptical strategy may be to appeal to explanatory considerations. In this view, the convergence of dream reports and objective polysomnographic or behavioral observations is best explained by the assumption that dreams are experiences in sleep, and this assumption is strengthened by further incoming findings. This strategy places dream reports at the center of scientific dream research while avoiding the contentious claim that their trustworthiness, and with it the experiential status of dreams, can be demonstrated conclusively by independent empirical means (Windt 2013, 2015a).

2.4 Dreams and hallucinations

Even where philosophers agree dreams are experiences, they often disagree on how exactly to characterize dreaming relative to wake-state psychological terms. Often, questions about the ontology of dreaming intersect with epistemological issues. Increasingly, they also incorporate empirical findings.

The standard view is that dreams have the same phenomenal character as waking perception in that they seemingly put us in contact with mind-independent objects, yet no such object is actually being perceived. This means dreams count as hallucinations in the philosophical sense (Crane & French 2017 Macpherson 2013). Even if, in a particularly realistic dream, my visual experience was exactly as it would be if I were awake (I could see my bedroom, my hands on the bed sheets, etc.), as long as my eyes were closed during the episode, I would not, literally, be seeing anything.

There is some controversy in the psychological literature about whether dreams should be regarded as hallucinations. Some believe the term hallucination should be reserved for clinical contexts and wake-state pathologies (Aleman & Larøi 2008: 17 but see ffytche 2007 ffytche et al. 2010).

The view that dreams involve hallucinations is implicit in Descartes&rsquo assumption that even when dreaming,

it is certain that I seem to see light, hear a noise, and feel heat this cannot be false, and this is what in me is properly called perceiving (sentire). (Descartes 1641: II.9)

It also lies at the heart of Aristotle&rsquos (On Dreams) assumption that dreams result from the movements of the sensory organs that continue even after the original stimulus has ceased. He believed that in the silence of sleep, these residual movements result in vivid sensory imagery that is subjectively indistinguishable from genuine perception (see also Dreisbach 2000 Barbera 2008).

The assumption of phenomenological equivalence between dream and waking experience can also be found in Berkeley&rsquos (1710: I.18) idealist claim that the existence of external bodies is not necessary for the production of vivid, wake-like perceptual experience. Similarly, Russell defended sense-data theory by noting that in dreams,

I have all the experiences that I seem to have it is only things outside my mind that are not as I believe them to be while I am dreaming. (Russell 1948: 149&ndash150)

Elsewhere, he argued dreams and waking life

must be treated with equal respect it is only by some reality not merely sensible that dreams can be condemned. (Russell 1914: 69)

Hume was less clear on this matter, proposing that dreams occupy an intermediate position between vivid and largely non-voluntary sensory impressions and ideas, or &ldquothe faint images of previous impressions in thinking and reasoning&rdquo (Hume 1739: 1.1.1.1). On the one hand, as mere creatures of the mind, Hume wanted to categorize dreams as ideas. On the other hand, he acknowledged that in sleep, &ldquoour ideas can approach the vivacity of sensory impressions&rdquo (Hume 1739: 1.1.1.1). Dreams do not fit comfortably into Hume&rsquos attempt to draw a dichotomous distinction between impressions, including perception, and ideas, including sensory imagination (Ryle 1949 Waxman 1994 Broughton 2006).

Phenomenologists often focus not so much on the quality of dream imagery as on the overall character of experience, noting that dreams are experienced as reality as in waking perception, we simply feel present in a world. This also sets dreams apart from waking fantasy and daydreams (Husserl 1904/1905 Uslar 1964 Conrad 1968 Globus 1987: 89.

At its strongest, the hallucination view claims that dreaming and waking experience are identical in both the quality of sensory imagery and their overall, self-in-a-world structure (Revonsuo 2006: 84). This claim is central to the virtual reality metaphor, according to which consciousness itself is dreamlike and waking perception a kind of online hallucination modulated by the senses (Llinás & Ribary 1994 Llinás & Paré 1991 Revonsuo 2006 Metzinger 2003, 2009).

This seems to be empirically supported. Neuroimaging studies (Dang-Vu et al. 2007 Nir & Tononi 2010 Desseilles et al. 2011) show that the predominance of visual and motor imagery as well as strong emotions in dreams is paralleled by high activation of the corresponding brain areas in REM sleep, which may exceed waking at the same time, the cognitive deficits often thought to characterize dreams such as the loss of self-awareness, the absence of critical thinking, delusional reasoning, and mnemonic deficits fit in well with the comparative deactivation of frontal areas (Hobson et al. 2000). Hobson (1988, Hobson et al. 2000) has argued that the vivid, hallucinatory character of dreaming results from the fact that in REM sleep, the visual and motor areas are activated in the same way as in waking perception, the sole difference being dreams&rsquo dependence on internal signal generation. Horikawa and colleagues (2013) used neuroimaging data from sleep onset to predict the types of objects described in mentation reports, which they took to support the perceptual equivalence between dreaming and waking.

Generally, versions of the hallucination view that suggest dreams replicate all aspects of waking perception are too vague to be informative. Especially for subtle perceptual activities (such as visual search), we might not know enough about dream phenomenology to make any strong claims (Nielsen 2010). Specifying points of similarity leads to a more informative and precise, but likely also more nuanced view. Dreams are heterogeneous, and some might be more perception-like while others resemble imagination (Windt 2015a). There might also be differences between or even within specific types of imagery. For example, visual imagery might be quite different from touch sensations, which tend to be rare in dreams (Hobson 1988). Visual dream imagery might overall resemble waking perception but lack color saturation, background detail and focus (Rechtschaffen & Buchignani, 1992). Classifying dreams as either hallucinatory or imaginative is further complicated by the fact that there is strong overlap in cortical activity associated with both visual imagery and perception (Zeidman & Maguire, 2016). This means even a strong overlap in cortical activity between, say, visual dream imagery and visual perception does not necessarily set dreaming apart from waking imagination.

This is also true for evidence on eye movements in dreams. LaBerge and colleagues (2018) recently showed that eye tracking of objects is smooth in lucid dreaming and perceiving, but not in imagining. Drawing from this evidence, Rosen (forthcoming) suggests many dreams mimic the phenomenology of interacting with a stable world, including eye movements and visual search. Others argue we should not analogize dream imagery to mind-independent, scannable objects and that eye movements might instead be implicated in the generation of dream imagery (Windt 2018).

2.5 Dreams and illusions

Another way to make sense of the claim that dreaming has the same phenomenal character as waking perception is to say some kinds of dream imagery are illusory: they involve misperception of an external object as having different properties than it actually has (cf. Smith 2002 Crane & French 2017). The illusion view disagrees with the hallucination view on whether dreams have a contemporaneous external stimulus source.

The illusion view has fallen out of favor but has a long history. The Ancients believed dreams have bodily sources. This idea underlies the practice of using dreams to diagnose illness, as practiced in the shrines at Epidaurus (Galen On Diagnosis in Dreams van de Castle 1994). Aristotle (On Dreams) thought some dreams are caused by indigestion, and Hobbes adopted this view, claiming different kinds of dreams could be traced to different bodily sensations. For instance, &ldquolying cold breedeth Dreams of Feare, and raiseth the thought and Image of some fearfull object&rdquo (Hobbes 1651: 91).

Appeals to the bodily sources of dreaming became especially popular in the 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Many believed specific dream themes such as flying were linked to sleeping position (Macnish 1838 Scherner 1861 Vold 1910/1912 Ellis 1911) and realizing, in sleep, that one&rsquos feet are not touching the ground (Bergson 1914).

There were also attempts to explain the phenomenology of dreaming by appealing to the absence of outward movement. The lack of appropriate feedback and of movement and touch sensations was thought to cause dreams of being unable to move (Bradley 1894) or of trying but failing to do something (Gregory 1918).

Some proponents of the &ldquoLeibreiztheorie&rdquo (or somatic-stimulus theory) of dreaming attempted to go beyond anecdotal observations to conduct controlled experiments. Weygandt (1893) investigated the influence of various factors including breathing, blood circulation, temperature changes, urge to urinate, sleeping position, and visual or auditory stimulation during sleep on dream content (see Schredl 2010 for details). Singer (1924) proposed experiments on stimulus incorporation in dreams can inform claims on the ontology of dreaming: If dreams are sensations, a particular auditory stimulus should increase the frequency of dreams in nearby sleepers as well as the frequency of sound in their dreams, and it should decrease the range of quality and intensity of these dreams, making them overall more similar and predictable.

Newer studies provide evidence for the incorporation of external stimuli in dreams, including light flashes, sounds, sprays of water applied to the skin (Dement & Wolpert 1958), thermal (Baldridge 1966), electrical (Koulack 1969), and verbal stimuli (Berger 1963 Breger et al. 1971 Hoelscher et al., 1981), as well as blood pressure cuff stimulation on the leg (Nielsen et al. 1995 Sauvageau et al. 1998).

Muscular activity also often leaves its mark on dreams. It occurs throughout sleep but is especially frequent in REM sleep, mostly in the form of twitching but occasionally also in the form of larger, seemingly goal-directed movements (Blumberg 2010 Blumberg & Plumeau 2016). The relation between outward and dream movements is complex: in some cases, outward movements might mirror dream movements, while in others, sensory feedback might prompt dream imagery (Windt 2018).

Generally, it seems external and bodily stimuli can be related to varying degrees to dream and sleep onset imagery (Nielsen 2017 Windt 2018 Windt et al. 2016). Some of these cases appear to fit the concept of illusion, as in when the sound of the alarm clock is experienced, in a dream, as a siren, or when blood pressure cuff inflation on the leg leads to dreams of wearing strange shoes (Windt 2018 for these and other examples, see Nielsen et al. 1995). In other cases, such as when blood pressure cuff stimulation on the leg prompts a dream of seeing someone else&rsquos leg being run over, describing this as illusory misperception might be less straightforward.

Saying that dreams can be prompted by external stimuli and that in some cases these are best described as illusions is different from the stronger claim, sometimes advanced by historical proponents of somatic-stimulus theory, that dreams generally are caused by external or bodily stimuli. As an example of the stronger claim, consider Wundt&rsquos proposal that the

ideas which arise in dreams come, at least to a great extent, from sensations, especially from those of the general sense, and are therefore mostly illusions of fancy, probably only seldom pure memory ideas which hence become hallucinations. (Wundt 1896: 179)

This claim is likely too strong. It is also likely that appeals to external or bodily stimuli on their own cannot fully explain dream imagery, including when and how external stimuli are incorporated in dreams. Sensory incorporation in dreams is often hard to predict and indirect associated imagery seems related not just to stimulus intensity, but also to short- and long term memories. A full explanation of dream content additionally has to take the cognitive and memory sources of dreaming into account (Windt 2018 Nielsen 2017 cf. Silberer 1919).

2.6 Dreams as imaginative experiences

The most important rival to the hallucination view is that dreams are imaginative experiences (Liao & Gendler 2019 Thomas 2014). This can mean dream imagery involves imaginings rather than percepts (including hallucinations or illusions McGinn 2004), that dream beliefs are imaginative and not real beliefs (Sosa 2007), or both (Ichikawa 2008, 2009). An important advantage is that by assimilating dreams to commonplace mental states such as waking fantasy and daydreaming, rather than a rare and often pathological occurrence such as hallucinations, it provides a more unified account of mental life (Stone 1984). However, the reasons for adopting the imagination view are diverse, and dreams have been proposed to resemble imaginings and differ from perception along a number of dimensions (e.g. McGinn 2004, 2005a,b Thomas 2014). This issue is complicated by the fact that there is little agreement on the definition of imagination and its relation to perception (Kind 2013).

One way is to deny dreams involve presence or the feeling of being in a world, which many believe is central to waking perception. Imagination theorists compare the sense in which we feel present in our dreams to cognitive absorption, as when we are lost in a novel, film, or vivid daydream (Sartre 1940 McGinn 2004 but see Hering 1947 Globus 1987). Some argue that reflexive consciousness or meta-awareness (as in lucid dreams) interrupts cognitive absorption and terminates the ongoing dream (Sartre 1940), essentially denying lucid dreams are possible.

Another issue is whether dreams are subject to the will (Ichikawa 2009). Imagination is often characterized as active and under our control (Wittgenstein 1967: 621, 633), involving &ldquoa special effort of the mind&rdquo (Descartes 1641: VI, 2), whereas perception is passive. Because dreams just seem to happen to us without being under voluntary control, they present an important challenge for the imagination view. Ichikawa (2009) argues lucid control dreams show dreams are generally subject to the will even where they are not under deliberate control.

Dreams are widely described as more indeterminate than waking perception (James 1890: 47 Stone 1984). In scientific dream research, vagueness is regarded as one of three main subtypes of bizarreness (Hobson 1988 Revonsuo & Salmivalli 1995). An example are dream characters who are identified not by their behavior or looks, but by just knowing (Kahn et al. 2000, 2002 Revonsuo & Tarkko 2002). Dreams are also attention-dependent and lack foreground-background structure (Thompson 2014) while it is tempting to construe the dream world as rich in detail, there is no more to dreams than meets the eye, and many think dream experience is exhausted by what is the focus of selective attention (Hunter 1983 Thompson 2014).

Indeterminacy is also related to the question of whether we dream in color or in black and white. Based on a review of historical and recent studies, Schwitzgebel (2002, 2011) argues there has been a shift in theories on dream color that coincides with the rise first of black-and-white and then color television. He argues it is unlikely that dreams themselves changed from colored to black and white and back to colored, proposing that a change in opinion is a more plausible explanation. Maybe dreams were either black and white or colored all along or maybe they are indeterminate with respect to color, as may be the case for imagined or fictional objects were this the case, it would strengthen the imagination view (Ichikawa 2009). Schwitzgebel&rsquos main point is that reports of colored dreaming are unreliable and our opinions about dreams can be mistaken (but see Windt 2013, 2015a). This relates to Schwitzgebel&rsquos (2011 Hurlburt & Schwitzgebel 2007) general skepticism about the reliability of introspection.

The issue of dream color has led to a number of follow-up studies (Schwitzgebel 2003 Schwitzgebel et al. 2006 Murzyn 2008 Schredl et al. 2008 Hoss 2010). They suggest most people dream in color and a small percentage describe grayscale or even mixed dreams (Murzyn 2008) or dreams involving moderate color saturation (Rechtschaffen and Buchignani 1992). Indeterminacy is rarely reported.

The imagination view has consequences for Cartesian dream skepticism. If dream pain does not feel like real pain, there is a fail-safe way to determine whether one is now dreaming: one need only pinch oneself (Nelson 1966 Stone 1984 but see Hodges & Carter 1969 Kantor 1970). As Locke put it,

if our dreamer pleases to try, whether the glowing heat of a glass furnace, be barely a wandering imagination in a drowsy man&rsquos fancy, by putting his hand into it, he may perhaps be wakened into a certainty greater than he could wish, that it is something more than bare imagination. (Locke 1689: IV.XI.8)

If dreaming feels different from waking, this raises the question why we tend to describe dreams in the same terms as waking perception. Maybe this is because most people haven&rsquot thought about these matters and they would find the imagination view plausible if they considered it (Ichikawa 2009). Or maybe

it is just because we all know that dreams are throughout unlike waking experiences that we can safely use ordinary expressions in the narration of them. (Austin 1962: 42)

Some authors classify dreams as imaginings while acknowledging they feel like perceiving. For example, Hobbes describes dreams as &ldquothe imaginations of them that sleep&rdquo (Hobbes 1651: 90), and imagination as a &ldquodecaying sense&rdquo (Hobbes 1651: 88). Yet he also uses the concepts of imagination and fancy to describe perception and argues &ldquotheir appearance to us is Fancy, the same waking, that dreaming&rdquo (Hobbes 1651: 86).

In the scientific literature, the imagination view is complemented by cognitive theories. Foulkes (1978: 5) describes dreaming as a form of thinking with its own grammar and syntax, but allows that dream imagery is sufficently perception-like to deceive us. Domhoff&rsquos neurocognitive model of dreaming (2001, 2003) emphasizes the dependence of dreaming on visuospatial skills and on a network including the association areas of the forebrain. The theory draws from findings on the partial or global cessation of dreaming following brain lesions (cf. Solms 1997, 2000), evidence that dreaming develops gradually and in tandem with visuospatial skills in children (Foulkes 1993a, 1999 but see Resnick et al. 1994), and results from dream content analysis supporting the continuity of dreaming with waking concerns and memories (the so-called continuity hypothesis see Domhoff 2001, 2003 Schredl & Hofmann 2003 Schredl 2006 see also Nir & Tononi 2010).

2.7 Dreaming and waking mind wandering

A number of researchers have begun to consider dreaming in the context of theories of mind wandering. Mind wandering is frequent in waking and involves spontaneous thoughts that unfold dynamically and are only weakly constrained by ongoing tasks and environmental demands (Schooler et al. 2011 Smallwood & Schooler 2015 Christoff et al. 2016). Based on phenomenological and neurophysiological similarities, dreams have been proposed to be an intensified form of waking mind wandering (Pace-Schott 2007, 2013 Domhoff 2011 Wamsley 2013 Fox et al. 2013). This basic idea seems to have been anticipated by Leibniz, who noted that the spontaneous formation of visions in dreams surpasses the capacity of our waking imagination (Leibniz, Philosophical Papers and Letters, Vol. I, 177&ndash178).

The analogy between dreams and waking mind wandering has been discussed in the context of cognitive agency. Metzinger (2013a,b, 2015) describes dreams and waking mind wandering as involving a cyclically recurring loss of mental autonomy, or the ability to deliberately control one&rsquos conscious thought processes. Dreams and waking mind wandering are not mental actions but unintentional mental behaviors, comparable to subpersonal processes such as breathing or heartbeat. Because dreaming and waking mind wandering make up a the majority of our conscious mental lives, he argues that cognitive agency and mental autonomy are the exception, not the rule.

This raises the question of how to make sense of lucid control dreams, which involve both meta-awareness and agency. Windt and Voss (2018) argue that in such cases, spontaneous processes including imagery formation co-exist alongside more deliberate, top-down control they also argue metacognitive insight and control themselves can have spontaneous elements. This suggests spontaneity and control are not opposites, but a more complex account is needed. Possibly, certain dreams and instances of waking mind wandering can be both spontaneous and agentive.

The analogy with mind wandering might help move forward the debate on the ontology of dreaming. In this debate, a common assumption is that dreams can be categorized as either hallucinatory or imaginative. Yet the application of these terms to dreams quickly runs into counterexamples and it is unclear they are mutually exclusive. One option is pluralism (Rosen 2018b), in which some aspects of dreaming are hallucinatory, others imaginative, and yet again others illusory. Another is that dreams are sui generis, combining aspects associated with wake states such as hallucinating, imagining, or perceiving in a novel manner without mimicking them completely. Windt (2015a) proposes that mind wandering, which describes a range of mental states loosely characterized by their spontaneous and dynamic character, might be particularly suitable for the characterization of dreaming precisely because that term leaves open more specific questions on the phenomenology of dreaming, allowing for variation in control, determinacy, and so on. This might be a good starting point for describing what is unique about dreaming while also acknowledging continuities across sleep-wake states and capitalizing on the strengths of the hallucination, illusion, imagination, and cognitive views.

2.8 The problem of dream belief

The second strand of the imagination view argues that dream beliefs are not real beliefs, but propositional imaginings. This may or may not be combined with the claim that dream imagery is imaginative rather than perceptual (Sosa 2007 Ichikawa 2009).

Denying that dream beliefs have the status of real beliefs only makes sense before the background of a specific account of what beliefs are and how they are distinguished from other mental states such as delusions or propositional imaginings. For instance, Ichikawa (2009) argues that if we follow interpretationist or dispositionalist accounts of belief, dream beliefs fall short of real beliefs. He claims dream beliefs lack connection with perceptual experience and fail to motivate actions consequently, they do not have the same functional role as real beliefs. Moreover, we cannot ascribe dream beliefs to a person by observing them lying asleep in bed. Dream beliefs are often inconsistent with longstanding waking beliefs and acquired and discarded without any process of belief revision (Ichikawa 2009).

This analysis of dream beliefs has consequences for skepticism. If dream beliefs are propositional imaginings, then we do not falsely believe while dreaming that we are now awake, but only imagine that we do (Sosa 2007). It is not clear though that this protects us from deception. If dream beliefs fall short of real beliefs, this might even make the specter of dream deception more worrisome: in mistaking dream beliefs for the real thing, we would now be deceived about the status of our own mental states (Ichikawa 2008).

It is also not clear whether the same type of argument extends to mental states other than beliefs. As Lewis points out, a person might

in fact believe or realize in the course of a dream that he was dreaming, and even if we said that, in such case, he only dreamt that he was dreaming, this still leaves it possible for someone who is asleep to entertain at the time the thought that he is asleep. (Lewis 1969: 133)

Mental states other than believing such as entertaining, thinking, or minimally appraisive instances of taking for granted might be sufficient for deception (Reed 1979).

The debate about dream beliefs is paralleled by a debate about whether delusions are beliefs or imaginings (see Currie 2000 Currie & Ravenscroft 2002 McGinn 2004 Bayne & Pacherie 2005 Bortolotti 2009 Gendler 2013). Both debates might plausibly inform each other, especially as dreams are sometimes proposed to be delusional (Hobson 1999).


ELI5: How does lucid dreaming work? What are some of the most reliable methods to induce it, and how soon would you expect it to start 'working'?

Here's a really fast rundown since I have to go to class soon. There are two most basic ways of inducing lucid dreams called MILD and WILD, each one with certain small variations.

MILD stands for "mnemonics induced lucid dreaming". To achieve lucid dreams with this technique you have to affirm yourself that you are going to have a lucid dream when you are falling asleep. If all goes well the affirmations will follow you into your dream state and once you realize something in the dream is off, you will gain awareness and successfully induce a lucid dream. Two things that help with MILD is doing RCs (short for reality checks) over the day and keeping a dream journal. There's plenty of ways to perform a RC in waking life:

Count your fingers. In a dream, the number of your fingers is off, especially if you double check.

Look at the clock, digital or analog. On a digital clock numbers tend to get messed up and you can't see the time clearly, while if you double check an analog clock the time tends to be different both times

Pinch your nose. In a dream you can breathe trough a pinched nose (this one is my favorite)

There's many more but I'll link you to some good forums at the end of the post so you can check it out for yourself. If all goes well, the habit of doing RCs will transfer into your dream state and there you will realize you're dreaming.

Dream journal, on the other hand, is important for your "dream memory". How often do you wake up right after a dream and don't even remember what it was about? It can happen with lucid dreams as well, it has happened to me before. Youɽ wake up in the morning and remember you were having a lucid dream, but you just wouldn't remember what it was about. To prevent that from happening it's important to keep a dream journal. All it does is it trains your memory to remember your dreams after you wake up, but that's very important - what's the point of lucid dreaming if you can't remember any of it.

WILD stands for "waking induced lucid dreaming". It means inducing a lucid dream directly from a waking state. In theory you could do that any time of the day if you're really good at it but WILD is often combined with WBTB (waking back to bed). What you do is you go to sleep, wake up as close as you can to a REM cycle (a phase in your sleep where you dream) which happens approximately every hour and a half (so you wake up after 4,5 hours, 6 hours, 7,5 hours. ), stay awake for atleast 10 minutes and then go to sleep. The chances of a successful WILD are much bigger this way since you're immediately going into a REM cycle. There's tons of variations for WILD, the one I like most is FILD (finger induced lucid dreaming). The recipe for this one is as follows:

wake up before a REM cycle BUT DON'T MOVE. You can achieve that by getting an alarm that stops ringing by itself after some time, or if you're good at that just wake up by yourself.

stay still and IMAGINE moving your index and middle finger as if you were playing a piano (don't actually move them!). What this does is keeps you aware while your body falls asleep. You might experience sleep paralysis but that is normal and you should just push trough it.

if everything went well you are now lucid dreaming!

There's so much more to lucid dreaming than I mentioned here. It's a very interesting and broad topic and if you are really interested in it I suggest you visit ld4all forum (a really nice community with tons of information on the subject) or dreamviews which explains lucid dreaming better than I can and also has a forum for discussion.

As for how long it takes for it to start "working". It depends. Some people are naturals and achieve it in the first week, others need months. I for example needed 2 or 3 months if I remember correctly, but it was definitely worth the wait! If you need any further help regarding lucid dreaming feel free to pm me. I'm going to class soon so I won't be responding till late at night but I will definitely respond eventually.


Discussion

The foremost aim of our study was to investigate the role of the sensorimotor cortex in generating bodily sensations in REM sleep dreams by modulating the excitability of the sensorimotor cortex with tDCS. We found that compared to sham stimulation, bihemispheric tDCS over the sensorimotor cortex reduced specifically the frequency of repetitive actions of the dream self in preceding REM sleep dreams, as measured through responses to the BED Questionnaire. This finding supports the claim that the sensorimotor cortex is causally involved in the generation of dream movement. Even though we did not observe hypothesized laterality differences in dream movement, i.e. inhibition on the right side of body and facilitation on the left side of body, tDCS interfered with inter-hemispheric EEG coherence and peripheral EMG activity, pointing to a change in both the central and peripheral motor systems in response to bihemispheric tDCS during REM sleep.

Frequency of bodily sensations and movement in dreams

To systematically assess bodily sensations in dreams, we developed a questionnaire designed to capture various dimensions of bodily experiences in dreams (see Table 2 for the exemplary questions). Interestingly, independently of tDCS, our data suggest that while dream movements were very common, other bodily sensations such as somatosensory sensations, vestibular sensations or body scheme alterations were rather rare. This overall pattern of frequent dream movement coupled with rare reports of other bodily sensations has been found in previous studies 1,47,55 . Our study extends the previous work largely based on free dream reports by showing that when different types of bodily experiences are specifically investigated through the use of a questionnaire, movements and tactile sensations remain the predominant dimensions of bodily experience in dreams. Thus, content analysis- and questionnaire-based studies generally provide converging evidence for the important role of sensorimotor phenomena in dreams.

However, our data also suggest that where more specific questions about dream phenomenology are concerned, results from content analysis of free dream reports and questionnaire data may diverge. In our study, the results from content analysis of movements in free dream reports were broadly consistent with those from the questionnaire. However, the modulatory effect of tDCS on dream content involving a reduction of repetitive movements was only found in the questionnaire data but not in the dream reports. Speculating that specific aspects of dream phenomenology, including specific bodily experiences, may remain unreported unless explicitly probed, we expected that responses to the questionnaire would provide a more accurate representation of bodily experience in dreams than the one we could infer from dream content analysis.

Indeed, similar differences between questionnaire results and dream report analyses have also been found for emotions. The frequency of emotions increases 10-fold if participants are asked to report emotions on a line-by-line basis, as compared to free dream reports 50 . When participants are asked to rate the kinds of emotions experienced in their dreams, they specifically report more positive emotions than are found when their dream reports are analyzed by independent judges 51,66 . This discrepancy raises important methodological issues that to date have not been fully resolved, and both methods likely have weaknesses and suffer from different kinds of bias 51 . One reason for the discrepancy, however, could be that free dream reports lack the focus to allow independent judges to pick up on specific aspects of dream phenomenology, such as emotions or movements. By contrast, when participants’ focus is directed to these aspects, such as through the use of questionnaires, this leads to more precise reporting. In our data, similar proportions of different types of movements between external ratings and questionnaire responses, together with the fact that movements were reported more frequently in the questionnaire data, make us lean towards this interpretation. There are also likely differences in what is reported: in free dream reports, individual movements need to be described in some detail for them to be rated by external judges. By contrast, in the questionnaire, participants rate the occurrence and frequency of specific movement types over the entire dream. Again, this may lead to a more comprehensive picture, but also bears the danger of overgeneralizing.

In sum, while claims about the accuracy of subjective dream data, including questionnaires, are notoriously hard to assess, the assumption that detailed questionnaires are a more sensitive measure of specific aspects of dream phenomenology than content analysis of free reports is consistent with our findings. Specifically, while the overall pattern of bodily experience seemed similar in free reports and in the questionnaire responses, the latter indicated more frequent bodily experiences, allowing for a more detailed analysis. The predominance of dream movement in our data also seems to be in line with a recent suggestion that kinesthesia is central to the generation of dream experience, at least during sleep onset 67 . At the same time, in our study, 36.9% of dream reports following tDCS contained no movements. It therefore seems that self-movements are not strictly necessary to sustain REM sleep dreaming. Moreover, the decrease of dream movement did not reduce the length of dream reports in our sample. Whether these dreams still involved e.g. observed movement is an open question.

Electrophysiological effects of bihemispheric tDCS

Bihemispheric tDCS over the sensorimotor cortex, as compared to sham stimulation, specifically altered repetitive actions in dreams. Repetitive actions are typically dependent on implicit memory of learnt motor sequences (e.g., walking), the automatic processing of which does not require explicit awareness and monitoring of movements. Such learnt, automatic movements, as compared to more controlled and deliberate movements, are also associated with a smaller increase of activity in brain areas related to motor processing 68 . Thus, a relatively modest tDCS interference with cortical processing arguably might have down-regulated motor cortex activity involved in the processing of automatic movements, reducing it to the baseline resting level and simultaneously inhibiting the occurrence of repetitive actions in dreams. Contrary to this, the relatively stronger cortical activation underlying single controlled actions might not have been reduced sufficiently by tDCS interference to significantly alter dream content. This would explain why our results showed a specific decrease in repetitive actions, while the frequency of single actions in dreams remained relatively high during tDCS and did not significantly differ from sham stimulation. Alternatively, bihemispheric stimulation might have interfered with the temporal coordination of dream movement, prohibiting long sequences of repetitive actions, but sparing temporally restricted single actions. Indeed, dream imagery is notoriously unstable and prone to change in discontinuous jumps 69 . Such possibilities should be more directly assessed in future studies, e.g. using motor imagery tasks during wakefulness that would allow for a more stringent control of movement complexity.

We found that bihemispheric tDCS interfered with neural processing in the beta frequency band, classically linked to motor processing 56,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,70 . In our setup, bihemispheric tDCS reduced inter-hemispheric coherence of parietal beta oscillations. Arguably, the differential montage of tDCS electrodes, i.e. the excitatory anode over the right sensorimotor cortex and the inhibitory cathode over the left sensorimotor cortex, disrupted inter-hemispheric coordination of motor commands, reducing the rate of repetitive actions associated with whole body movements in dreams. A differential effect of bihemispheric tDCS was also observed in the phasic EMG activity of the arm muscles. While phasic EMG varied independently between the arms during sham stimulation, a strong negative correlation was observed following tDCS, i.e. it suppressed phasic muscle activity in one arm while increasing it in the other arm.

We expected that such destabilizing and hemisphere-specific effects of tDCS would also cause unilateral distortions, i.e. inhibition vs facilitation, of bodily sensations in dreams. However, the observed reduction of dream movement was independent of the laterality of stimulation. That is, the decrease of inter-hemispheric EEG coherence and the emergence of phasic EMG anticorrelation between arms did not translate into unilateral effects on the dream body. We can only speculate on the lack of laterality effects, and further studies will be important to understand the underlying mechanisms. First, it is possible that the bihemispheric tDCS protocol we adopted inhibited cortical and cerebellar motor networks bilaterally, an effect previously reported in the resting state neuroimaging studies 71,72 . Second, it is conceivable that bihemispheric tDCS produced hemisphere-specific facilitation vs. inhibition of motor processing, and such asymmetry resulted in the reduction of repetitive dream movements that depend on the coordinated whole-body performance. Our EEG and EMG findings, i.e. reduction of EEG inter-hemispheric coherence and negative correlation of phasic EMG between arms, support the latter interpretation.

To detect effects on other modalities (e.g. body image distortion, vestibular sensations), a larger group of participants might be necessary. Moreover, the absence of modulatory effects of tDCS on somatosensory experiences, which were reported quite frequently by our participants, could be related to the placement of the tDCS electrodes that was specifically determined by the location of the hand area in the primary motor cortex.

Implications for consciousness studies

Our study suggests a methodology for identifying, via causal manipulation, the neural correlates of specific types of dream experience. Thus, beyond dream and sleep research, our findings also have more general implications for consciousness research. First, they add another piece of evidence that the neural correlates of specific dream content match the neural correlates of corresponding cognitive and behavioural functions during wakefulness 21 . Going beyond mere correlation, our results allow us to speculate that the motor cortex might indeed be involved in the generation of movement sensations in dreams.

Our results also shed light on the phenomenological profile of self-representation in dreams. In simulation theories, the subjective sense of presence, or the experience of a self in a world, is central to dreaming. While this highlights the importance of self-simulation, the precise pattern of self-experience in dreams, as compared to wakefulness, raises questions 10 . One possibility is that bodily experience in dreams replicates waking experience another is that dreams are characterized by a comparative overrepresentation of movement and an underrepresentation of other types of bodily experience (e.g. tactile, thermal, or pain sensations). Our finding that tDCS selectively altered dream movement, taken together with the comparatively low frequency of other types of bodily experience in dreams, is consistent with the second possibility. Future studies could aim to further investigate this question by systematically comparing questionnaire data and reports of bodily experience in both dreams and wakefulness.

A related question concerns the relation between bodily experiences in dreams and the sleeping physical body. It is commonly thought that dream experience, including bodily experience, is completely independent of outward muscular activity and stimulation of the physical body this is reflected in the idea that dreaming is isolated from external and bodily stimuli 12 and that REM sleep is characterized by the sensory input/motor output blockade 2 . However, there are empirical and theoretical reasons for thinking that varying degrees of concordance between dream experience and the physical body exist, on both the levels of sensory input and motor output 55,73 . Lesion studies in cats have shown that pontine lesions, which eliminate REM-sleep related muscular atonia, induce organized motor behavior, such as searching and attacking, during REM sleep 74,75 , possibly indicating dream behaviours. Further examples include (illusory) own-body perception, such as when stimulation to the sleeping body is incorporated in dreams 29,30 , and dream enactment behaviors in humans, in which outward muscular activity corresponds to movement sensations in dreams. REM sleep behavior disorder, in which seemingly goal-directed behaviors during REM sleep (such as attacking one’s sleeping partner, attempting to run, etc.) match subjective dream reports, is an extreme example 76,77,78 . But REM sleep is also accompanied by subtler muscular activity in the form of twitching 79 . Its concordance with dream experience seems plausible but has not been systematically investigated.

In our study, bihemispheric tDCS during REM sleep modulated not only dream movement but also outward muscular activity in the arms. Due to the absence of movement reports in several participants, we could not reliably relate individual variance in subjective movement reports to electrophysiological measures. However, our findings are consistent with the possibility that changes in dream movement are related to changes in outward muscular activity during REM sleep. A promising avenue for future research could be to investigate the relevance of bihemispheric tDCS for several movement-related sleep disorders. REM sleep behaviour disorder would be a good place to start because of the match between dream movements and outward physical activity. Other disorders that could potentially benefit from the inhibition of motor activity include sleepwalking and periodic limb movement disorder. Here, however, the association with dream experience is less clear and should be investigated more directly. Furthermore, as these are typically NREM sleep disorders, it is not certain whether neurophysiological effects of tDCS would be comparable to those observed in the present study of REM sleep.

Limitations and outlook

Despite these promising results, the current study has several limitations. First, the effects of tDCS on mental states have been repetitively challenged by replicability difficulties 80,81,82 and should thus be treated with caution. Nevertheless, given that motor cortex tDCS during wakefulness provides the most reliable effects 81,83 , we expect the same to hold during REM sleep. Second, due to the very complicated and time-intensive protocol of the study, we could only recruit a rather small number of participants. Thus, larger samples and replication studies will be needed in future 84 . Furthermore, and again due to the complexity of the setup, we did not include a control stimulation site nor did we switch the side of the bihemispheric stimulation (to left anodal, right cathodal stimulation), which would be especially interesting to disentangle hemisphere-specific effects. Future studies with a larger sample of participants should also explore whether bihemispheric tDCS during REM sleep interferes with a wider range of EEG frequencies involved in motor processing, including alpha and gamma bands as well as broadband responses 85,86 . Last but not least, our data suggest that the questionnaire that we developed is more sensitive to the tDCS induced changes than free dream reports this is in line with findings that questionnaires are generally more sensitive to details of dream phenomenology (such as emotions) than free reports 50,51,66,87 . While the questionnaire was developed by the authors and has not yet been validated, it is open to future refinement and this would be a valuable next step.


Scientists Successfully Communicate With Lucid Dreamers While They Are Dreaming

(Arjun Walia) An international team of researchers was able to achieve real-time dialogues with people in the midst of lucid dreams, a phenomenon that is called “interactive dreaming,” according to a study published recently in Current Biology.

by Arjun Walia, March 14th, 2021

Can dreams be used to help us with personal development? To predict possible future events and/or to gain important insight about something we feel is important in our lives?

What Happened: A recent study published in Current Biology titled “Real-time dialogue between experimenters and dreamers during REM sleep” has discovered that individuals who are asleep and experiencing a lucid dream, which is a dream where the individual knows that they are in the midst of a dream, can “perceive questions from an experimenter and provide answers using electrophysiological signals.” These answers are provided while they are dreaming.

We implemented our procedures for two-way communication during polysomnographically verified rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep in 36 individuals. Some had minimal prior experience with lucid dreaming, others were frequent lucid dreamers, and one was a patient with narcolepsy who had frequent lucid dreams. During REM sleep, these individuals exhibited various capabilities, including performing veridical perceptual analysis of novel information, maintaining information in working memory, computing simple answers, and expressing volitional replies. Their responses included distinctive eye movements and selective facial muscle contractions, constituting correctly answered questions on 29 occasions across 6 of the individuals tested. These repeated observations of interactive dreaming, documented by four independent laboratory groups, demonstrate that phenomenological and cognitive characteristics of dreaming can be interrogated in real time.

Lucid dreamers were able to follow instructions to compute mathematical operations, answer yes-or-no questions, or discriminate stimuli in the visual, tactile, and auditory modalities. They were able to respond using volitional control of gaze direction or of different facial muscles. There were three different participant categories.

Pretty remarkable isn’t it? The fact that lucid dreamers were able to communicate with the researchers, who weren’t dreaming, is quite mind altering.

Researchers used spoken words, beeping tones, flashing lights and other tactical stimuli like touching the dreamers hand and “tapping” to communicate with the dreamers. The “messages” and questions that the dreamers were “receiving” were answered and acknowledged by the dreamers in the form of eye movements, facial contractions etc.

The dreamers used in the study provide some descriptions after they woke up of what they experienced in real time when the researchers began the stimuli process

I was at a party with friends. Your voice was coming from the outside, just like a narrator of a movie…I decided to answer ‘no’ (with facial muscle contractions).

When the lights started flickering. I recognized this as a (Morse-coded) signal from the outside and counted **** *** ***** and reported the answer ‘4’ with eye signals.

During the finger tapping, I was fighting against goblins. I remember being surprised that I was able to do many things at the same time as the task.

After reading this it reminded me of the movie Inception, when the dreamers were “triggered” by outside stimuli to begin the “waking up” process, which would manifest as some sort of experience in their dream that would trigger their awakening. The only difference this time is that the stimuli wasn’t done for the purposes of waking the dreamers, but to simply communicate with them while they were dreaming.

As mentioned in the study, one of the examples came from a 35-year-old German participant. This one was an experienced lucid dreamer, and while he was dreaming and presented with a visual stimuli by the researchers of alternating colors and a Morse-coded math problem which was 4 minus 0, the participant produced the correct answer using eye movements. The participant described giving his answer after awakening from the dream. “In his description of the dream, he maintained that he heard the message “4 plus 0″ and answered accordingly.” This example comes from the second quote above.

A 20-year-old French participant with narcolepsy and remarkable lucid-dreaming abilities was also used. Because of his narcolepsy, he reached REM sleep quickly, about 1 min after the beginning of a 20-min daytime nap, and he signaled lucidity 5 min later. The researchers verbally asked him yes/no questions and he answered correctly using facial muscle contractions (zygomatic muscle for yes, corrugator muscle for no). In a separate analysis of facial contractions during lucid dreaming, the researchers never observed a response in the absence of stimulation. This example comes from the first quote above, where he experienced this in his dream as an actual voice asking him a yes or a no question.

“There are studies of lucid dreamers communicating out of dreams, and also remembering to do tasks. But there’s a fairly limited amount of research on the stimuli going into lucid dreams….One thing that surprised us is that you could just say a sentence to somebody, and they could understand it just as it actually is….It’s amazing to sit in the lab and ask a bunch of questions, and then somebody might actually answer one. It’s such an immediately rewarding type of experiment to do. You don’t have to wait to analyze your data or anything like that. You can see it right there while they’re still sleeping.” – Karen Konkoly, a PhD student at Northwestern University and first author of the paper. (source)

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About The Author

I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since :) There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation

Stillness in the Storm Editor: Why did we post this?

The news is important to all people because it is where we come to know new things about the world, which leads to the development of more life goals that lead to life wisdom. The news also serves as a social connection tool, as we tend to relate to those who know about and believe the things we do. With the power of an open truth-seeking mind in hand, the individual can grow wise and the collective can prosper.

Not sure how to make sense of this? Want to learn how to discern like a pro? Read this essential guide to discernment, analysis of claims, and understanding the truth in a world of deception: 4 Key Steps of Discernment – Advanced Truth-Seeking Tools.

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Research Shows

Your Genes Affect Your Sleep Clock

Johns Hopkins sleep expert and neurologist Mark Wu, M.D., Ph.D., and fellow researchers recently identified a gene involved in the circadian regulation of sleep timing. When researchers removed this gene&mdashcalled &ldquowide awake&rdquo&mdashfrom fruit flies, the flies experienced problems falling asleep and staying asleep. A similar sleep gene exists in both humans and mice. Scientists continue to study this gene in hopes of understanding more about how processes within our cells affect our ability to sleep.

Your Body&rsquos Built-In Sleep Controls

According to Wu, there are two main processes that regulate sleep: circadian rhythms and sleep drive.

Circadian rhythms are controlled by a biological clock located in the brain. One key function of this clock is responding to light cues, ramping up production of the hormone melatonin at night, then switching it off when it senses light. People with total blindness often have trouble sleeping because they are unable to detect and respond to these light cues.

Sleep drive also plays a key role: Your body craves sleep, much like it hungers for food. Throughout the day, your desire for sleep builds, and when it reaches a certain point, you need to sleep. A major difference between sleep and hunger: Your body can&rsquot force you to eat when you&rsquore hungry, but when you&rsquore tired, it can put you to sleep, even if you&rsquore in a meeting or behind the wheel of a car. When you&rsquore exhausted, your body is even able to engage in microsleep episodes of one or two seconds while your eyes are open. Napping for more than 30 minutes later in the day can throw off your night&rsquos sleep by decreasing your body&rsquos sleep drive.

Why You Need Sleep

If you have ever felt foggy after a poor night&rsquos sleep, it won&rsquot surprise you that sleep significantly impacts brain function. First, a healthy amount of sleep is vital for &ldquobrain plasticity,&rdquo or the brain&rsquos ability to adapt to input. If we sleep too little, we become unable to process what we&rsquove learned during the day and we have more trouble remembering it in the future. Researchers also believe that sleep may promote the removal of waste products from brain cells&mdashsomething that seems to occur less efficiently when the brain is awake.

Sleep is vital to the rest of the body too. When people don&rsquot get enough sleep, their health risks rise. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Sleep also plays a role in metabolism: Even one night of missed sleep can create a prediabetic state in an otherwise healthy person. &ldquoThere are many important connections between health and sleep,&rdquo says Wu.


How to Lucid Dream: Introduction

Usually, when we dream, we&rsquore not conscious that it&rsquos only an illusion and comprehend it as a reality. However, if you&rsquore experiencing lucid dreaming, you take control of your own dreams, and can even explore them.

Reportedly, 82% of people have experienced a lucid dream at least once in their lives. And, while we perceive lucid dreaming as the ability to be aware of your dreams, it goes way beyond that.

You can learn various techniques that will allow dreaming about anything you want. It can be a particular problem, idea, incident, or even task that you weren&rsquot able to figure out for quite some time. If you learn how to lucid dream, you can explore your dreams, solve real-life problems and find perfect solutions to the most serious issues.

Previously mentioned aspects are not the only reasons why people practice lucid dreaming. It can also help to treat PTSD, nightmares, and even depression. These findings were discovered by the psychophysiologist Dr. Stephen LaBerge - the inventor of many lucid dreaming strategies who has been performing various research methods and techniques for the last 20 years.

Also, people who have a lack of self-confidence and experience anxiety can practice lucid dreams to solve these psychological problems by engaging with other people and imagining themselves in different situations. During such dreams, people can see that there&rsquos absolutely nothing to be afraid of, and they can act likewise in real-life situations.

Thus, individuals who want to learn how to lucid dream might have many intentions that seem completely logical. If you want to join them, then follow the next steps and start practicing tonight.


Lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming is characterized by the fact that the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming. The border between being awake and dreaming disappears and he can influence the dream event. Furthermore, he can remember the dream afterwards. This opens up completely new possibilities. Lucid dreaming makes everything possible that seems to be impossible in everyday life and opens up completely new horizons of consciousness. In special offers everyone can learn this dream technique.


Factors That May Decrease Acetylcholine Levels

Because low acetylcholine is believed to be involved in the development of some diseases, there are many potential uses that have been proposed for substances that can block the acetylcholine system.

List of Supplements & Nutrients

Many compounds and drugs may decrease acetylcholine levels or reduce its activity.

In general, drugs or other compounds that reduce acetylcholine levels &mdash or otherwise inhibit its activity &mdash are commonly known as &ldquoanticholinergics.&rdquo (To learn more about these substances and how they work, we recommend checking out our detailed SelfHacked posts on anticholinergics, which you can find here and here.)

Once again, these drugs may exert this effect by targeting one or more of the multiple different potential mechanisms and pathways related to the creation or release of acetylcholine.

Some of the supplements and dietary compounds that have been proposed to have some potential anticholinergic effects and mechanisms include:

On the other hand, the following are synthetic compounds, plant toxins, and heavy metals that may lead to unwanted effects or poisoning by acting on the same pathway:

When to See a Doctor

If you believe you have a health condition or other reason to try to influence your acetylcholine levels, it is extremely important to always talk to your doctor about any new supplements or dietary changes you make.

The approaches discussed in this post could interact with any other drugs you are taking, other pre-existing health conditions, and other health-related factors. None of the information in this post should ever be used to replace conventional medical treatment.

It is also important to keep in mind that many of the compounds and substances discussed above have only been tested in animal- or cell-based studies. This means that their effects and overall safety in healthy human users is not known.

Therefore, these compounds should be considered as currently having &ldquoinsufficient evidence&rdquo for any specific use &mdash and much more research will be needed to verify what effects they may have in humans, as well as how safe they may be.

Blocking Acetylcholine Is Not that Simple

Many biological processes and pathways are involved in determining the total amount of acetylcholine in the body and brain, as well as its overall degree of activity.

This means that there are many different mechanisms and pathways that can influence acetylcholine, such as:

  • Increasing or decreasing the levels of its &ldquoingredients&rdquo (metabolic precursors), such as choline
  • Activating or inhibiting the enzymes that produce (synthesize) active acetylcholine from its precursors, such as choline acetyltransferase or acetyl-coenzyme A
  • Stimulating or suppressing the release of acetylcholine by nervous system cells
  • Directly activating acetylcholine receptors, such as by &ldquoimitating&rdquo natural (&ldquoendogenous&rdquo) acetylcholine
  • Blocking acetylcholine receptors, thereby preventing them from being activated by natural acetylcholine
  • Increasing or decreasing the number of acetylcholine receptors

Takeaway

Acetylcholine is usually seen as the &ldquogood guy&rdquo since it activates the &ldquorest-and-digest&rdquo system and promotes wakefulness. It might also induce lucid dreaming.

However, experimental research suggests an association between too much acetylcholine and certain health problems. Still, it&rsquos hard to define &ldquoexcess acetylcholine&rdquo since this neurotransmitter can&rsquot be directly measured and its levels may vary across different brain areas.

Nonetheless, scientists think that a dominance of acetylcholine may be linked with depression and hives. Natural compounds like forskolin and kava may supress acetylcholine activity, but their health benefits are uncertain.

Read Next

With SelfDecode’s Cognitive Enhancement and Mood DNA Reports , you can find natural ways to reduce your stress and improve your cognitive function despite all the bad news . You’ll get genetic-based diet, lifestyle and supplement tips that are personalized based on YOUR DNA.

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Puya Yazdi

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