Controlling Self-Awareness During Sleep
Majority of the dreams take place during the REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep stage. It is the stage when a person is not aware of the fact that he is dreaming. He experiences all his dreams to be a reality. The phenomenon takes place when some elements of the prefrontal cortex- associated with higher cognitive function and awareness remain inactive. Many people even experience specific coherent dreams. They are fully aware of their dreams and also have the ability to modify the results. Dissimilar to REM sleep, elements of the prefrontal cortex have shown to be fully active, causing self-awareness during sleep.
Self-Awareness During Sleep: The Study
Ursula Voss, a psychologist from the Goethe University Frankfurt, carried out a study along with her colleagues. In this experiment, she found lucid dreaming has a close relation to neuronal activities. Such activities are taking place in the temporal and also frontal brain lobes. Ursula Voss came up with claims saying that during her study, she was able to induce eloquent dreams in people by applying low-current spurs to their scalps.
According to a cognitive neuroscientist named Ryota Kanai from the University of Sussex, this was an exciting study validating causality. However, Ryota was not a part of the study. But he concluded that inducing eloquent dreaming is possible in sleepers with the help of electric current. They have to apply this current to their to scalp.
Self-Awareness During Sleep – The Study Procedure
During the study, they gave mild electric current to the temporal and also frontal brains of the sleepers at varied frequencies. Twenty-seven volunteers were used for this study. All of them went through a non-invasive process. This is transcranial alternating current stimulation.
The stimulation has no disturbance for the sleepers. It directly modulates the resting ability of the neurons without causing any action potential. Hence, it was put forward by a lecturer of clinical neurophysiology. His name was Michael Nitsche. He was from the University Medical Center, Gottingen. It was Michael Nitsche who also helped in developing the technique.
All of those candidates had no experiences in eloquent dreaming. So, researchers stimulated them after every two or three minutes of undisturbed REM, half-way through the night. They also repeated double-blind studies on them for four nights. Every night, the participants filled the dream reports.
Voss and also her colleagues engaged in the experiment put forward that stimulations at the range of frequencies between 25 Hz and 40 Hz made way for gamma frequency activities. Such activities have a relation to lucid dreaming.
Surprising Conclusion Of The Experiment
According to Voss, she had never expected that the experiment would work out. It was quite remarkable for Voss and her team to find out that the brain can take on a new rhythm. Also, for the other neuroscientists who were not a part of this experiment, the results were quite surprising. They believe the findings of this study is promising for further research in the field of lucid dreaming. The adaptability potential of the human brain surprised the Neuroscientists.