Talking to folks whereas they’re asleep can affect their dreams – and in some instances, the dreamer can reply without waking up.
Ken Paller at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and his colleagues discovered that individuals might answer questions and even resolve maths issues whereas lucid dreaming – a state that usually happens throughout fast eye-movement (REM) sleep when the dreamer is conscious of being in a dream, and is typically capable of management it.
“We asked questions where we knew the answer because what we wanted to do is determine whether we were having good communication. We had to know if they were answering correctly,” says Paller.
The staff requested dreamers yes-no questions regarding their backgrounds and experiences, together with easy maths issues involving addition and subtraction. The dreamers weren’t conscious of what questions they’d be requested earlier than they went to sleep.
The dreamers, who had a spread of expertise with lucid dreaming, answered the questions appropriately 29 occasions, incorrectly 5 occasions, and ambiguously 28 occasions by twitching their face muscle groups or shifting their eyes. They didn’t reply on 96 events.
After waking, some dreamers reported that they’d heard the questions as if from outdoors the dream, whereas others perceived the questions as being a part of the dream. One participant who was dreaming about being in a automotive heard maths issues coming from the radio.
“One thing that this method puts forward is that while the dream is happening, we can affect the content of the dream,” says Mark Blagrove at Swansea University, UK. “The next question is, what happens if the sentences are highly personally relevant and emotional?”
In the longer term, Paller hopes that such dream conversations might assist enhance sleep in folks with situations like melancholy, nervousness or post-traumatic stress dysfunction.
“If you’re facing something that makes you anxious, you might want to try it out in a lucid dream and therefore overcome the anxiety that you’re feeling,” he says.
Journal reference: Current Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.026
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