Dream A Little Dream of Me
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Written by Edie Weinstein-Moser   
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Popular music is filled with songs that have the word dream in the title. The Mamas and Papas invite you to “Dream A Little Dream of Me”, while Bare Naked Ladies ask the question: “When You Dream” (what do you dream about?). Bobby Darin is wondering where his “Dream Lover” is, so he doesn’t have to dream alone.

Why such fascination with this nocturnal activity?  For eons, cultures have studied and practiced the art of dreaming. Australian aboriginal tribes live in what they call the dreamtime, which is the ‘time before time’ that is connected to a spiritual practice. One of my favorite books is called “The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You”. The central theme of the story is the power of dreams among a tribe of rainbow hued variety, living on an isolated island. For these people, the dream time is even more valid than their waking hours.

 Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming was brought into the academic and public spotlights around the world once it's scientific validity was proven, separately by researchers at Stanford University, California (where it has also been proven to be a learnable skill), and at Liverpool University, England. Proof was achieved by performing, during REM sleep, a series of extreme left-right eye signals which were agreed upon prior to sleep. Though most of the body's muscles are de-activated during REM sleep, the eye muscles are not, and repeated experiments at Stanford, the Sacré-Coeur Hospital Dream and Nightmare Laboratory and elsewhere have proven that the eyes (and to some extent other physiological responses) can be brought under conscious control by a dreamer who realizes that she or he is dreaming.

Have you ever found yourself immersed in a dream that felt so real, that all of your senses were fully engaged?
Quotation Have you ever found yourself immersed in a dream that felt so real, that all of your senses were fully engaged? Quotation
  You could feel your heart pounding or your body moving. If the dream was pleasant and you chose to stay in that state, you may have discovered that you could manipulate the circumstances or move the characters around like players on a stage. If it was frightening, you may have reminded yourself that it was ‘only a dream’ and awoken yourself.

According to the Lucidity Institute, there are several methods of inducing lucid dreams. The first step, regardless of method, is to develop your dream recall until you can remember at least one dream per night. Then, if you have a lucid dream you will remember it. You will also become very familiar with your dreams, making it easier to learn to recognize them while they are happening.

If you recall your dreams, you can begin immediately with two simple techniques for stimulating lucid dreams. Lucid dreamers make a habit of "reality testing." This means investigating the environment to decide whether you are dreaming or awake. Ask yourself many times a day, "Could I be dreaming?" Then, test the stability of your current reality by reading some words, looking away and looking back while trying to will them to change. The instability of dreams is the easiest clue to use for distinguishing waking from dreaming. If the words change, you are dreaming.

 Taking naps is a way to greatly increase your chances of having lucid dreams. You have to sleep long enough in the nap to enter REM sleep. If you take the nap in the morning (after getting up earlier than usual), you are likely to enter REM sleep within a half-hour to an hour after you fall asleep. If you nap for 90 minutes to 2 hours, you will have plenty of dreams, with a higher probability they will become lucid than dreams you have during a normal night's sleep. Focus on your intention to recognize that you are dreaming as you fall asleep within the nap.

External cues to help people attain lucidity in dreams have been the focus of Dr. Stephen LaBerge's research and the Lucidity Institute's development efforts for several years. Using the results of laboratory studies, they have designed a portable device, called the DreamLight, for this purpose. It monitors sleep and when it detects REM sleep gives a cue -- a flashing light -- that enters the dream to remind the dreamer to become lucid. The light comes from a soft mask worn during sleep that also contains the sensing apparatus for determining when the sleeper is in REM sleep. A small custom computer connected to the mask by a cord decides when the wearer is in REM and when to flash the lights.



 


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