Lucid Dreaming

Today, every experience you have ever wanted has a price: around $300. You can go to Disneyland with your family, you can go into outer space and battle aliens, you can "dive to the bottom of the ocean without even having to breathe"; you can do anything you could ever imagine. It is, although, limited to your imagination, because all these experiences will be in your head.

In the simplest words, lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. This allows for the person to wake up, or control the dream. “Lucidity must depend on achieving a state that is intermediate between normal sleep, where memory for dreams is practically nil, and being awake,” explained Allan Hobson, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School. Neurologically, lucid dreams are like REM dream-states, where one has regular “vivid” dreams, but with the frontal lobe activated just under the point of waking. And now scientists have figured out how to consistently recognize REM dream states and activate the frontal lobe, therefore, inducing lucid dreams.

The market for lucid dreaming has exploded in the past decade. One major company is Lucid Dreamer, a Dutch start-up founded by André Keizer, that is using kick-starter to finance the creation and marketing of a device that uses a shock (around 40Hz) or frequency applied directly to the head for initiating lucid dreaming. There is also Luciding Inc., which is doing the same thing with their Lucid Catcher. For those looking for easy lucid dreaming activation without the neural shock there is the Aurora Dreamband, that senses when you’re entering REM sleep and offers a cue (such as a flashing light or a faint alarm),as well as the Remee, which is basically the same thing as the Dreamband but with LED lights and a more high tech sensory equipment. The Southworth brothers have started selling bottles of a Matrix-themed pill, called Dream Leaf. Finally there are no shortage of books and classes on spiritual methods to induce lucid dreaming, although these have proven to be harder work and less efficient.

Besides the obvious awesome capabilities, there are plenty of beneficial and practical applications as well. Take Tim Ferris for example, who in his beginner's guide to wrestling, explains how he trained for wrestling in high school with 2-time Olympic champion wrestler John Smith. The training led him to his best season that year, going 20-0 in his run up to the nationals. The trick, though, is that he never trained with John Smith, but only practiced the champion’s signature moves while asleep, using lucid dreaming.

Stephen Laberge, a Stanford Graduate, has proven that through lucid dreaming one can boost creativity, problem-solving skills, and learning abilities. What one practices in lucid dreams, such as rehearsing public speaking or writing music, can actually be used in reality.

The point of this is to explain to you the amazing, and expanding, new world of lucid dreaming, and give you a little bit of hope.The world has plenty of dark sides, and to the people who are tired of it, there is now another escape. Lucid dreaming, where you can spend a vacation with your best friends on a tropical island every night, or fight a dragon and save a princess, or even beat up an unpopular public figure. It is all up to your imagination.

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