The availability of several apps which encourage lucid dreaming are fuelling a rise in the concept that our smartphones and tablets can actually help to control our dreams.
During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may have some ability to manipulate and play an active role within the dream. Although it may sound a little abstruse, the dreamer is also aware that they are in fact dreaming. Decades ago the excitement of lucid dreaming was confined to a small number of interested groups, now with the rise of a number of innovative apps on our smartphones, we are promised the ability to lucid dream.
I road-tested one app called DreamShuffle, which is only available on the Android market. There are several similar alternatives for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users; such as DreamZ which promises a "an access to wondrous worlds, richly detailed and impressive as reality itself."
In a BBC Health magazine article, dental surgeon Mac Sweeney, from Islington in London says there used to be around four or five groups in the UK that gathered to discuss lucid dreaming techniques. "Now there are more than 50 in London alone," says Mr Sweeney.
It is not only lucid dreaming forums that are on the rise in London. One group in London's Euston district charges up to £40 ($62) for a private session where dreams are interpreted. The famous psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud once described dreams as “the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind."
The researchers discovered the involvement of a different type of activity in the sleeping brain.
Although DreamShuffle did not encourage me to experience lucidity within my dreams, it did encourage me to dream regularly throughout the night. Usually one would experience REM sleep, or dreaming, around twice a night. Once in the early sleep cycle and again more active dreaming towards the end with a deep slumber sandwiched in between. During my sleep cycle I managed only five-and-a-half hours sleep which is around two hours short of my optimum sleep period but because DreamShuffle had woken me from deep sleep and somehow subconsciously shifted me to REM sleep every hour or so, I felt refreshed and spiritually content with my night's rest despite the slight shortfall in hours.
Although I did not experience any lucid dreaming or interaction, the very fact there was more dreaming, encouraged by the app, inspired a feeling of creative inspiration. Former Beatles songwriter and performer, Sir Paul McCartney once said he dreamed the tune to his classic hit single Yesterday, which he quickly penned in the following days.
Tibetan Buddhists have been practicing a form of lucid dreaming or dream yoga for centuries. And now thanks to a slew of iPhone and Android apps, we can all join in.