Sleep researchers have found an unexpected connection between virtual reality and lucid dreaming.
Hacking your dreams is not a new idea. In fact, there is already a well-established method for training your brain to stimulate lucid dreaming. Essentially, dreamers are encouraged throughout their waking day to occasionally stop and ask themselves: “Is this a dream?”
It sounds simple. But while this “self-induced existential crisis” may seem like an exercise in futility, the idea is that having this internal question-answer session frequently while awake may subconsciously cue your brain to ask itself the same question when you’re sleeping, too. And voila: A lucid dream begins.
But this method doesn’t work for everybody — not least because continuously reminding yourself to ask whether you are dreaming may feel repetitive at best, maddening at worst. But virtual reality could train our brains better, the researchers theorized.
“Since waking life rarely contains dream-like or surreal moments, the provision of these environments via VR would be one way to increase the availability of convincingly dream-like experiences; within which a moment for genuine critical reflection is made available. Thus, the traditional method for lucid dream induction—critical questions about one’s current state of mind and ‘reality checks’ — may be greatly enhanced through the additional provision of VR environments with dream-like aesthetic properties.”
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