Friday, 25 April 2014

Sweet Dreams Experiment

Is it possible for people to create their perfect dream and wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed?

Professor Richard Wiseman.
Photo credit Brian Fischbacher
Well it is according to psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman’s latest book Night School!

The Dream:ON app developed with
In 2010, Professor Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, teamed-up with app developers YUZA to create ‘Dream:ON’ – an iPhone app that monitors a person during sleep and plays a carefully crafted ‘soundscape’ when they dream. Over 500,000 people downloaded the app and took part in the mass participation experiment.

The study sought to determine whether or not a person’s dream could be influenced by listening to carefully designed soundscapes whilst they slept. Each soundscape was designed to evoke a pleasant scenario, such as a walk in the woods, or lying on a beach. Participants used the app to choose a soundscape to listen to whilst asleep, and afterwards the app would sound a gentle alarm to prompt the person to submit a description of their dream.

Results showed that if someone chose the nature soundscape then they were more likely to have a dream about greenery and flowers. In contrast, if they selected the beach soundscape then they were more like to dream about the sun beating down on their skin. The study also indicated that certain soundscapes produced far more pleasant dreams. In addition, the researchers discovered that the results also showed that participants’ dreams became especially bizarre around the time of the full moon.
Professor Wiseman's Book: Night School

A sweet dream is thought to help people wake-up in a good mood, and as a result boost their productivity during the day. Professor Wiseman’s research may also form the basis of a new type of therapy to help those suffering from certain psychological problems, such as depression.

The findings are described in Professor Wiseman’s book on sleep and dreaming, Night

School.  The Dream:ON app and all of the soundscapes are currently available free of charge.

What is your own experience of dreams?  Do you think you can create your perfect dream and wake up happy and refreshed?

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