New research from the University of Adelaide has had unprecedented success in increasing people’s chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they’re dreaming while it’s happening and can control the experience.
Previous research into inducing lucid dreams has had little success, which has limited any further research into the potential benefits and applications of the phenomenon.
This time however, Dr Denholm Aspy and his team were able to use a combination of techniques to increase the chances of experiencing a lucid dream.
The most effective technique used in the study, now published in the journal Dreaming, was MILD – the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams – with a 46% success rate.
The MILD technique works on prospective memory, where the participant wakes up after five hours of sleep and develops the intention to remember that they are dreaming before returning to sleep by repeating the phrase ‘the next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming’.
The highest level of success was found in those who were able to go back to sleep after the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique.
The prospect of learning to control your dreams isn’t just a cool trick. As we move closer to more effective lucid dreaming induction techniques, there are a range of potential benefits including ‘the treatment of nightmares and improvement of physical skills and abilities through rehearsal in a lucid dream environment,’ Dr Aspy says.
Dr Aspy is continuing his research into lucid dreams to continue increasing the effectiveness of the technique. His study is open to all English speakers above the age of 18. For more information or to take part, visit his website.
Sarah Condie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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