Nowadays there are apps that track peoples movements, food and even sleep. Sleep is recorded by some algorithms that every company wants to keep for themselves. If we have to believe the companies, the algorithms can accurately register the sleeping patterns of a person. When the user wakes up he can see how well and how long he has slept that night. Examples of such sleep tracking apps are: Jawbone Up (this app requires a extra bracelet), Sleep As Android, Sleep Cycle, Sleepbot,…
Tracking sleep is one thing, but influencing sleep by influencing dreams is something else. The developers of Dream:On claim that they can influence dreams with their application. The app Dream:On is launched by Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire and says that it has some scientific approach that checks when the user is in his REM sleep (Most dreams take place during REM sleep, it is a phase during which our minds are also more sensitive to other senses). When it notices that the user is in his REM sleep the app plays a soundscape (this is a simulation of the acoustic environment of the user by playing sounds of nature phenomenons, animals or humans). According to Professor Wiseman these soundscapes are used to create your desired dreams. Different soundscapes are available in a dream store so that your can choose what kind of dream your want to create. Examples of soundscapes are: ‘travel the world’ if you want a traveling dream or ‘wild west’ if you want an adventurous dream in the hart of a shootout. You are also supposed to log your dreams manually. All logs of the dreams of the users are used by Professor Wiseman as data for a study. So the app is actually an experiment that provides lots of data that can be used to analyse.
I’m actually not sure how I think about this application. On the one hand I don’t really believe that an app can track REM sleep by movements only and especially not by just having your iphone next to you in bed. On the other hand it might be possible to steer dreams by sounds of the environment because it will create some kind of mood for your brains. Also if it is used as an experiment, it’s a clever way to get lots of data for a study. The app is definitely worth the try!
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