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Brain Zap Could Help You Control Your Dreams

Mild Shock Can Induce Lucid Dreaming

Nightmares: being chased by killers, falling from great heights, maybe even public speaking in your underwear. But what if you could control those dreams?

New research soon to be published in the journal Nature Neuroscience shows scientists can give study participants lucid dreams, the kind where the dreamer is in charge, by giving their brains a light electric shock.

The key characteristic of lucid dreams is that the dreamers know they're dreaming. Got it?

Al Jazeera reports Being aware typically makes the dream very vivid and, supposedly, allows you to decide what to dream to a certain extent. Some people claim to be able to experience any adventure they want in their dreams.

And it's no surprise, the Internet is full of lucid dream how-to guides, some for a spiritual purpose and some because it's just plain cool.

But the study may show there's a shortcut. Researchers stuck electrodes on the skulls of 27 non-lucid dreamers and zapped them with varying frequencies of electricity while they slept. In theory, this helped recreate the same kind of brain wave activity as a lucid dreamer.

Mostly that means gamma waves, a type of brain wave which, according to LiveScience, is linked to consciousness. Your brain doesn't generate them during normal dreaming, but it does during lucid dreams.

And, sure enough, the researchers saw a spike in gamma wave activity, especially if the participant reported having a lucid dream. Though it's kind of a chicken-or-the-egg problem, in that they don't know which came first.

"Does lucid dreaming trigger gamma-band activity or does gamma-band activity trigger lucid dreaming? ... Perhaps the capacity to generate gamma-oscillatory activity sets the stage for lucid dream." (Via NBC)

Regardless what causes what, there could be some mental health benefits from the research.

The Guardian quotes one of the study's authors, saying: "As a model for mental illness, understanding lucid dreaming is absolutely crucial. ... [It's] certainly a step in the direction of understanding how the brain manages to hallucinate and be deluded."

The study could also help scientists better understand consciousness - and, who knows, maybe pave the way for our very own lucid dreaming devices.

Join the discussion

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Felicia Roberts May 12 2014 at 12:01 PM

ive been controlling my dreams since i was a kid

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MICHAEL May 12 2014 at 10:41 AM

people have known for many yrs its possible to control your dreams. personally, i rather like the surprise when i dream.

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Ken May 12 2014 at 10:35 AM

All neuroscience is based on one underlying false premise: that the mind is a function of the physical brain. it is not. the mind is a quantum non-local event that is registered in the brain. think of the brain as a radio tuned to the frequency of your mind. (D. Wilcock)

In addition, we assume that the solution to all problems or even minor issues like presented in this article are best solved with some intervening technology. This is merely part of a larger multifaceted program to sell us transhumanism.
(The Age of Transitions youtube. com/watch?v=AdzepK-LVtU )

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Gina May 12 2014 at 10:03 AM

I've been able to change things in my dreams since I was a kid. I've also had repeated dreams where years later I have that same dream only I do something different in the dream and I even KNOW I'm in the dream while it's happening. Many times I'll feel like it's real and something will happen and I'll think to myself, "Oh, I'm in one of those dreams". It's kind of fun because every night you don't know what exciting and sometimes scay voyage you're going on. I would never need to have my brain zapped.. I have enough crazy movie like dreams on my own! Also, many dreams I have are places I'm about to go to. Not that I even know I'm going there but during the day I might pass a store or a home and realize that was exactly where I was in my dream the night before or sometimes years before. Very strange...

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molnarc Gina May 12 2014 at 10:22 AM

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. I have those kinds of dreams, too.

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javilaus May 12 2014 at 2:12 PM

I can control my dreams.. whatever you ask to see, you see.. it's awesome. When I know I'm dreaming I go "ok.. now show me my next design" and walk into a room full of purses and I pick one, analyze how it was made and make it when I wake up. (they never look as awesome as in my dream but cute enough) Check out my etsy under Jennysita if you don't believe me. Seriously.. that's how I come up with Ideas. I know two ways to do this: 1. All you have to do is wake up at 6am.. stay awake for about an hour (get on your phone, tablet or read a book).. then put it aside and force yourself back to sleep. (if you don't have to go to work of course). I don't know why the brain knows its dreaming when its forced back to sleep. Method 2: If you don't have to get up early the next day, stay up as late as you can, and fight your sleep, when you can't hold your eyelids open anymore you actually feel yourself falling asleep and next time you open your eyes.. you're in your dream and you know it!

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javilaus javilaus May 12 2014 at 2:22 PM

whoops I meant JennysitaDesign on Etsy.. if you wanna see my dream imagination haha. if it wasn't for my dreams I don't know how I'd paint the frames I made too.. all the color combos I saw while asleep :)

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xraybrain May 12 2014 at 8:15 AM

All the lucid dreams I have had (about once a month) have happened just as I am about to wake up.....and I know I am about to wake and I am really mad that I will wake any second. Lucid dreaming is just AMAZING. A while back I dreamed of my dead father. I hugged him and didn't want to let go because I knew the dream would end any second

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Mike May 12 2014 at 7:57 AM

I can re-start my dreams all the time if I wake up, go back to dream, kind of like a "pause" setting.

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reelanimals May 12 2014 at 7:33 AM

I have done alot of lucid dreaming. I have even told people in my dream that it doesn't matter what happens because I am dreaming. They think I'm crazy.I can change the outcome on many dreams. Not always though. Maybe it's because they say I have sleep apnea

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eulerckt reelanimals May 12 2014 at 7:52 AM

Not all that rare, is it? I can control some of my dreams. Also, when I wake up in the middle of an interesting one, I can continue it when I do drop off again. No apnea.

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Debby reelanimals May 12 2014 at 9:40 AM

Waitress for many years , after retirement I had horrible stressful dreams of working , I would wake exhausted and stressed , it was almost unbearable , My granddaughter spoke of lucid dreams and told me to concentrate once im in the dream and say to myself , Im only dreaming , I told other people in the dream , dont stress its only a dream .. its only a dream ... and since then I have had no more waitress dreams .............. it really works .. and amazing ............

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sindfetish May 12 2014 at 7:22 AM

if you have experienced this...you will KNOW it. It is one of the single most amazing things i experience in life...i'm not exaggerating It happens only occasionally...2-3 times a month...but WOW. We all know how REAL dreams can be? Imagine having that AND being able to control and being fully aware of the dream.

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onemadashell May 12 2014 at 11:50 AM

how is this news? i already control my dreams. if i dont like the outcome i go back to an earlier point and change the sequence.

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