Awesome Stuff: Sweet Dreams

from the are-made-of-this dept

Arianna Huffington has been talking about the importance of "sleeping your way to the top" for years now, though in just doing a search to find some of her earlier speeches for that I see Huffington Post, just yesterday, ran another article on this. Of course, she means the importance of getting a good night's sleep (which is exactly what you thought, right?). For this week's awesome stuff, we've got three crowdfunding projects related to sleep and dreaming.
  • First up, we've got SHADOW, the Community of Dreamers. It's an interesting project, trying to build software and a community to help people "remember and record" your dreams -- and then share that data, such that it might become useful someday. Like many people, I will often wake up from an interesting/strange/amusing/amazing/frightening dream and think that it was so vivid that I'm bound to remember it, only to have it completely fade away within a short while. The goal here is to prompt people to record their dreams the moment they wake up (the app itself is an alarm clock that gradually wakes you up, like plenty of others on the market, but then prompts you to record your dream). And, then the information is "anonymized" (which sounds easy in theory, but isn't always in practice) and added to the database with some metadata (again, making me not so sure how anonymous it really is...). Still, an interesting project, though, I'm not convinced that there's any great global linkage to be gleaned from everyone's dreams, as the creators imply. It still might make an interesting research dataset though -- though, just wait until the NSA hacks into it.
    One oddity of this campaign is that they had different tiers based on which phone platform -- iPhone, Android or Windows -- you use, and the one that got the most supporters will be developed and released first. iPhone has this one beat, hands down, which might be a bit of a turnoff for supporters from other platforms. Still, the campaign shot well past its $50,000 goal and is over $80,000 now. It ends tonight, so there are just a few hours left until it closes.
  • Next up, we've got Luci, the lucid dreamer inducer. When I was a kid, I first read about lucid dreaming in Richard Feynman's collection of memoirish stories, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!, in which he talks about his own experience figuring out how to realize he was in a dream and then controlling the experience. Of course, today people probably think of the movie Inception or something like that. After reading about Feynman's experience, I tried to copy what he did with no luck, and even checked a few books on "lucid dreaming" out of the library -- and still no luck. So I gave up and really stopped thinking about it altogether. But I know some people get really into it, and there are a few devices on the market that claim to be able to help, with this being another one. However, most of the other products are masks that detect REM and then flash some lights in your eyes, which you then need to realize means you're in a dream. These guys claim that Luci does more by using brainwaves, and a voice telling you you're in a dream. I have no idea how effective this actually is. The company shows its own tests, but they appear to lack basic scientific rigor (even at the most basic level).
    The project is already way overfunded -- already breaking $200,000 (Canadian) of the $40,000 target with a week and a half to go. That's fairly impressive for a $150 device that may not work. Apparently there are a lot of folks willing to take a chance on controlling their dreams. Somehow, that's not too surprising.
  • And, finally, we've got the other semi-obsession of many people I know when it comes to discussions about sleep: polyphasic sleep (sleeping in a bunch of shorter bursts, rather than getting a full night's sleep at once). There are a bunch of apps out there to help people who want to switch to a polyphasic sleep system, but SmartSleep is working on one that looks decent, with some cool features if you really want to try out polyphasic sleep. Unlike a lot of apps I've seen that are just alarm clock/nap timers, this one really seems focused on helping out with polyphasic sleep, including helping to automatically adjust your sleep schedule if you miss a nap and providing additional information on polyphasic sleep.
    This project appears to have just launched yesterday, so it doesn't have much support at all yet. They're seeking $35,000, which seems a bit steep -- especially as I'm not sure how big the polyphasic sleep community really is. Still, there's lots of time so maybe it'll get there.
That's it for this week. Sweet dreams.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    PopeyeLePoteaux, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 9:50am

    "It still might make an interesting research dataset though -- though, just wait until the NSA hacks into it."

    Or if there is a time when we will be able to record dreams like if they were movies;

    "This dream has been taken down due to copyright infringement, sorry for the inconvenience"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Youtube: Rain and Thunder Sounds 10 Hours

    I found this the other day, and discovered that if you type "thunder" in Youtube there are hundreds of "relaxing sounds" recordings being uploaded, from cooking sounds to nature.

    That made me think about how people perceive relaxation.

    Which reminded me of how we perceive temperature.
    http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/madmec-design-competition-1017.html

    Now reading this, I wonder if we are getting any closer to integrating all of this to have wake dreams or be able to adjust all the parameters to have a better nights sleep.

    I also was wondering about how selfish it is to complain about others making noise, when you only have 2 sound receptors in your head that you could for very little money soundproof.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 12:29pm

    The best (and free!) way to lucid dream are these; 1) Whenever you enter a room - turn on a light switch.. turn it back off and then back on. Our subconsious mind (which controls dreaming) often can't figure out the cause and effect of technology like this - the lights will always malfunction if you are dreaming. 2) Whenever you look at a digital watch or clock - look away and then look back at it. If you are dreaming the time will have changed. The subconcious mind has trouble remaining consistant with writing or numbers - it can display something that makes sense, but if you look away and look back it will have changed. Works with books or signs too. If you do these things while you are awake all the time, you will automatically do them when you are dreaming and then you can say "Aha! I caught you, I'm dreaming" and proceed to fly around.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 5:40pm

    I've found that the best way to remember a dream is to lie completely still when you wake up and just think about the dream. For some reason, moving around seems to cause you to forget the dream. Maybe it's because moving around gives your brain new input to think about. I don't know, I just know that lying still seems to help me remember my dreams better.

    As for lucid dreaming, there have been a few times where I've realized that I'm dreaming. Unfortunately, every time this happens, I wake up almost immediately. See someone who's passed away, realize it's a dream, give them a hug, wake up. Start moving things with my mind, realize it's a dream, wake up. Meet a famous person, realize it's a dream, shake their hand, wake up. For whatever reason, I can't seem to continue dreaming once I realize that it is a dream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 7:11pm

    Luci...as in Lucifer?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    any moose cow word, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 10:56pm

    At one point in my youth, I was able to enter a lucid dreaming state. You basically have to hit a sweet spot where your body is totally relaxed, yet your mind is not fully unconscious. It's possible to reach this state when you're drifting off or when you are already deep asleep and in a dream.

    I think there are different levels of lucid dreaming, from mere guided dreaming to near consciousness in the dream state. I found guided dreaming after going to sleep to be the easiest, as it's basically a form of daydreaming. It's best if you're tired enough to relax with ease, but not so tired that you drift off quickly. Then, as you're drifting off, you think about something. Don't concentrate on it, that only makes it harder. Merely fantasize about it. A sound, a place, a person. Unless it's a something really familiar, your dream will usually not be exactly what you pictured. Think of it more as watching a movie where your subconscious is projecting the world around you.

    Say you're in a car, driving on a country road through a forest. There's nothing around you except the green foliage and the open road. Let subconscious mind control the wheel. It's in the driver's seat. Your conscious mind is a navigator, merely giving suggestions as to which way to turn, or what the destination will be. In guided dreaming, your "self" in the dream is just like the car. You're merely suggesting what to do or what you see. Your subconscious is the one in control. And just like a passenger grabbing the wheel from the driver in a real car, you're likely to "crash" the dream and wake up. Neither your subconscious or conscious mind is used the experience of coexisting. You need to take you're time to get used to it. With practice, your suggestions can become stronger and have greater weight upon the experience.

    Eventually, you maybe able to take the driver's seat, be in total control of yourself, and still be able to guide the world the subconsciousness projects around you. This is a fully lucid dream state, where both your conscious and subconscious coexist in the same mental space. You're mostly conscious, and conscious of being in the dream world created by your subconscious. The key here is to not dwell on the fact it's a dream, focus your attention on the dream itself.

    Of course, there are limits to how much say you have over the dream. When you're dreaming, the subconscious is still the one in control over the world. If it holds on to a thought strong enough, whether it be a place, an event, or a person, you'll have little say over the matter. You can try to get away, but you'll eventually find yourself back to that same thing over and over. The dream can degrade into a nightmare.

    I found that it's best to stick to controlling yourself. You'd be "awake" and walking about in the dream, and only occasionally make adjustments to the world. Say, you wanted to travel to Paris. With practice, if you fantasize about it as you fall asleep, you will at some point in the dream end up there. Now, if you what to go to a cafe and look at the Eiffel tower, you'll be able to see it in the distance. Walk down the street towards it. Eventually, you'll find the cafe. Now, after a few cappuccinos, if you find yourself wondering to the toilet, wake up! A dream can "leak" into the real world. (Yes, that's actually happened.)


    There's a lot of reasons I was no longer able to do lucid dream. One is that I had a few bad experiences. Sometimes, me and my subconscious didn't exactly get along. Being "awake" in a nightmare can be a hellish experience. And sometimes I got into the state and I had trouble awaking up. Even a nice dream isn't so nice if you can't leave when you want to. A few times I'd woke up in my own bed, got up and started walking around. At some point later I realized that I'd only awaken in another dream. And even after "waking" up more than once, I was in reality still asleep! Believe me, that's a mindbending experience. Eventually, you start to tell the difference. There's always certain details that your subconscious doesn't pay attention to. The easiest of the lack of senses. The lack of a smell or the sensation of you're feet on the ground. Once you become aware of them, you'll usually wake up.

    The biggest problem though is the stresses of adulthood. Lucid dreaming can be like a form of meditation, it's hard to do if you're not able to relax. I had to be so tired that I drift off quickly without giving my mind enough time to dwell on problems.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    PopeRatzo (profile), Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 3:17pm

    Becoming lucid

    If you want a very clear and instructive introduction to Lucid Dreaming, Steven LaBerge's Lucid Dreaming is still the best. There is also a very good chapter about lucid dreaming in the book Fringeology.

    It takes a few weeks to get the simple techniques (you just have to be repetitive and consistent), but lucid dreaming is well worth the little effort it takes. I highly recommend it if you spend any amount of time solving problems. Plus, it feels really really good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 12:55am

    Polyphasic sleep is actually what we are hardwired for, the current "8-hour" night is a stupidity. As many other stuff are heh.

    I'd like to be in control of my dreams a few times a month but I don't believe in the project you showed, it seems just some sort of sham or whatever you call it. But I could be (hopefully) proved wrong.

    As for the dream registry I don't like the sharing part because I don't know how they will anonymize the things. However should be interesting to have a peek into what humanity is dreaming. I'd bet we'd see remarkable patterns. Now if I could record an image of what I dreamed with colors and sound that would be freaking amazing (I know they mean recording it like some spoken diary or something but I went above it in my wonderings).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 6:58am

    Re:

    To test how well it is anonymized, simply place the device on your dog while he sleeps for a week.

    See if they contact you about unusual results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    Now, after a few cappuccinos, if you find yourself wondering to the toilet, wake up! A dream can "leak" into the real world. (Yes, that's actually happened.)

    I haven't have an accident in my sleep since I was little, however I've found that when I need to use the bathroom in real life while sleeping, that need finds its way into my dream. In the dream, I start looking for a bathroom and there's always something wrong with them. Or I find what I think is a fancy toilet, start using it and then realize that it's a fountain, or a washing machine, etc.

    Usually my entire dream is like that. I rarely dream about normal situations. Objects morph into other things, houses have a dozen levels & hidden passageways, people I know change into other people, etc.

    And sometimes I got into the state and I had trouble awaking up. Even a nice dream isn't so nice if you can't leave when you want to. A few times I'd woke up in my own bed, got up and started walking around. At some point later I realized that I'd only awaken in another dream. And even after "waking" up more than once, I was in reality still asleep!

    I actually envy you that experience. For me, a few seconds after I realize that I'm dreaming, I wake up, for real.

    I did once dream that everyone else in the world, except for my family, had died and I remember thinking "I wish this was a dream!" Then it turned out that it was.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 8th, 2013 @ 4:00pm

    Re:

    However should be interesting to have a peek into what humanity is dreaming. I'd bet we'd see remarkable patterns.

    My most frequent recurring dreams (the main theme, the details are always different) usually fall into one of four categories;

    1. I dream that I can move things with my mind. Each time I have this dream, I think to myself "It's really happening this time! I'm not dreaming!" Then I wake up.

    2. My parents come back from the dead and resume their normal lives. Not come back in the zombie or supernatural sense, it's just as if they went away for a while and now they're back. Often, I realize it's a dream, hug them, and then I wake up.

    3. I'm going somewhere, either on foot, on a bike or on some other human-powered vehicle, however my legs start to hurt almost immediately. They say you can't feel anything in a dream, but I definitely have the sensation that I've been walking for miles, even right at the start. This makes it hard to get anywhere.

    4. I've been out of school for a while, but it was some kind of mistake, or I was playing hooky and now I have to go back and resume all my old classes. I don't remember where any of them are or what we were studying and I'm way behind everyone else.


    Occasionally in my dreams, I'm friends with celebrities and sometimes they're even part of my family. Except that they aren't celebrities in my dreams. Almost always, the locations in my dreams change and have weird layouts. Like having a diner in my house, or a house having 4-5 floors, then an attic with a secret area that leads to another staircase up to a second attic with a crawlspace that takes you even higher until you get to a long-lost room that nobody has been in for decades and is probably haunted.

    On the other hand, maybe I watch too much horror and SciFi...
    :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This