About a year ago we launched a study here (R/Lucid Dreaming) to see if an Android app could help people have lucid dreams. Today we’re releasing our initial results, plus an updated version of the app improved based on these findings (if you’d like to try it you can get/update it here)
The basic finding was that playing sounds when REM was detected increased lucid dreaming for people who reported previous lucid dreams, but not for those with no lucid dreams in the past week. This suggests there’s some underlying factor influencing the ability to have lucid dreams—although the app worked the same way for everyone, it only induced lucid dreams in people who had that underlying ability.
We think this underlying factor might be related to sleep quality. We found that people who reported poor sleep quality had more lucid dreams in general, and showed bigger effects of using the app. In addition, we measured restlessness during the night using Fitbit data, and found that only people who had restless sleep increased their lucid dreaming rate when using the app.
Interestingly, we also see much higher lucid dreaming rates in the sleep lab than we do in home experiments. This suggests a potential way to increase lucid dreaming—people generally sleep poorly in a lab , and that combined with the app may be enough to turn someone from a non-lucid dreamer into a lucid dreamer.
Based on this, we’ve modified our app a bit to deliver the sound cues later in the night—after at least 6 hours of sleep. Since sleep is usually lighter and more interspersed with wake in the early morning, this may allow the lucid dreaming sounds to work better. If you’d like to try the new version of the app, you can download/update it here!
If you’d like to see the data and graphs we presented at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, you can also see them here!. I’ll also be hanging out here to answer questions!