Lucid dreaming – the ability to be aware that you are dreaming, and to control the dream – is a rare and intriguing phenomenon. Research shows that lucid dreaming is a skill that can be learned, and there’s an iPhone app that may help you gain this skill.
The app is called “Control Your Dreams” in the App Store, but “Dreamcontroller” in its title screen. To make sure you’ve found the right app, look for a red icon with a white lightning bolt. Fortunately, the name is the only thing confusing about Dreamcontroller/Control Your Dreams; the app has an intuitive interface and comprehensive instructions, and is easy enough to use even if you’re half asleep.
The app is based on a technique known as Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming, or WILD. To induce WILD, the dreamer starts from a state of wakefulness, and makes an effort to retain awareness while falling asleep.
Since lucid dreams are easier to enter after having slept for a few hours, Dreamcontroller sets an alarm at a time interval of your choosing. When the alarm goes off, the app prompts you to answer a simple arithmetic question to prove that you are awake, and then starts a countdown to help you induce the lucid dream. You can customize the length of the countdown, as well as include a gentle ticking sound, vibration, or both. If you try counting down on your own, it’s easy to lose your place; hearing the countdown with Dreamcontroller can help keep you focused as you drift off.
Don’t expect instant results; you’ll need to experiment. I have yet to have a full-on lucid dream using this app, but I do often wind up in some fuzzy semi-dream states. If you’re interested in experimenting with lucid dreaming, this app can be a useful tool, but it’s not a silver bullet.
And I strongly recommend trying it out on a weekend, when you don’t have much to do the next day. Experimenting too much with your sleep doesn’t always feel good the next morning.
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