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It’s rare for technology to have such a developed presence in what are otherwise considered quite holistic practices, but lucid dreaming is one of those subjects where technology has indeed come a long way.
Today I’m going to take a look at lots of different hardware and software that’s been developed to help lucid dreamers the world over.
Lucid Dreaming and REM Detection Masks
The state of becoming conscious within your dreams and taking full control is the holy grail for dreamers. For some it comes naturally, others must work hard and practice mental techniques; and then there’s the curious technology of Lucid Dream or REM detection sleep masks.
I recently reviewed one such device – the Remeé, a $99 device that began its life on Kickstarter – and we gave one away to one lucky reader (if you missed that, you really ought to subscribe to our RSS feed; be sure not to miss all of this month’s exciting gaming giveaways!). Though I didn’t have much success with it, some attribute this to it’s “shotgun like” approach of simply triggering the light cues throughout the night rather than only when REM periods are detected.
The Remeé is certainly not the only sleep mask on the market – the REM Dreamer ($240) uses infra-red sensor to detect rapid eye movements and only triggers the light cues during a dream state.
On the top end of the market is the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, around $400 (hat tip to Sean Kelly @ LucidAcademy.com for pointing me towards that), a headband system that detects brain waves in order to more accurately detect the stages of sleep cycle. For more info, check out this extensive review from Lucidopedia:
Though the device itself doesn’t include lucid dreaming cues, it can be used to wake you at a specific point in conjunction with “wake induced lucid dreaming” techniques; or you can link it to lucid dreaming apps such as this one, or this one on Android.
Dream:ON is perhaps the slickest iPhone dream app I’ve found yet. By detecting movements (or rather, lack thereof for REM periods), it decides the best time to playback lucid audio cues. A variety of themes are available as in app upgrades to cater for every desire from countryside walks to deviant nights of Fifty Shades fun.
DreamZ [Broken Link Removed] ($3) is a similar app to Dream:ON, though the interface isn’t nearly as nice and there’s no free version.
Sleep Cycle ($2) won’t specifically help you lucid dream, but it will make you up feeling refreshed. If you’re practicing WILD, a 6 hour sleep period can be set before you go back to sleep again.
Dream Globally ($4) is part dream recall aid, part social network. With a combination of reminders to recall your dreams before you sleep and a gentle wake up that allows you to immediately speak your dreams (without opening your eyes or moving, which significantly decreases the chances of remembering g your dream). Once you’ve tagged and added your dream, you can choose to upload it to the DreamGlobally.com network. The interface is a little amateurish though.
Singularity Experience [Broken Link Removed] ($5) is designed for use with Dream Chaining, or DEILD, in which you attempt to “re-enter” a dream state immediately after waking, which increases awareness and therefore gives you a greater chance of being lucid. Sadly, the interface is so bad that even the app developer has mentioned – “THIS APP HAS THE MOST COMPLICATED USER INTERFACE YOU WILL EVER FIND. YOU WERE WARNED!”
Ultimately, lucid dreaming requires dedication and mental practice. The best place to start is not with an iPhone app, but with a notepad and pencil by your pillow. Write down as much as you can about your dreams every night; if you’re too groggy when you wake up or just can’t be bothered (and this will only work if you sleep alone), try using the voice recorder function on your phone to explain the dream and then write it up later. Getting to know your dreams and being able to recall them in ever greater detail in the single most important factor when it comes to learning to become lucid.
If you’ve think you’ve got the ultimate bit of kit for lucid dreaming, get in touch so we can sort out a thorough review; or if you have any suggestions for apps that I’ve missed, please add them in the comments.
I’ll leave you with an nostalgic clip of Potsworth & Co (known as Midnight Patrol in the US) – a kids show about a team of kids who lucid dream collaboratively to defend the dreamzone! They don’t make them like this anymore….