Progress is increasing exponentially. Several decades ago I was dreaming about an IBM 10 Mhz CPU, 1 Mb RAM, no HDD !personal! computer. Those days are gone. Now, I have a quad ARM core A15 and 2 Gb of RAM in my pocket! And this is not even a complete list of the cool features on this device. It also has a light sensor, barometer, gyroscope, humidity sensor, compass, etc. And the numbers of different kinds of Apps are growing from year to year, too. I already described my experience with Zeo here and here. Let’s take a look at something less sophisticated and a lot less expensive (considering the fact that you already have the hardware where the app is running). The following list of apps is a small part of all existing solutions that I was able to test. And the list is supposed to grow. So, if you think there is another app that should be included here, or if you’re the developer of an app that should be included, please shoot me a comment with a brief description and someone from the community will definitely try it out and add it to the list!
Lucid dreaming apps: DreamZ
DreamZ is a cute little application designed for Apple iDevices; I haven’t seen it for Android or anything else. If you guys need some help to port this app onto Android, I’m more than happy to help! I tested the app on my old iPhone 4g.
I believe the DreamZ uses an internal gyroscope to detect body movements. This might be a problem if you have a partner sleeping on the other side of the bed. Based on my experience, practicing Lucid Dreaming with somebody sleeping right next to you is not really good idea anyway. Especially, when they have a habit of kicking your ass when they are sleeping. It’s quite disturbing! 🙂
Anyway, as you might already know, you go through several stages when you’re dreaming.
You will see some illustrations later. The fact that early morning is the best time to practice Lucid Dreaming can be found in Meditation feedback.
The algorithm recognizes the REM (rapid eye movement) state when you are really close to your normal awakened state and plays voice prompts, which can be recorded using a special menu.
In my case, the app detected several REM phases and successfully woke me up instead of sending prompts through a dream. I think this particular problem has nothing to do with the app, though. Because currently I have the exact same problem with my Zeo algorithms, despite the fact that they are way more precise in detecting sleep stages.
One visible drawback is the algorithm is not really sensitive, compared to the Sleep Cycle app, which, unfortunately, has nothing to do with Lucid Dreaming (please, see explanations below).
Here are some screen shots:
As you can see, the outputs are pretty similar. Is it enough to have a positive Lucid Dreaming experience? I think only you can answer this question.
This was another experiment about sensitivity.
In my opinion, these guys have created the best algorithm based on a built in gyroscope for iDevices! The Sleep Cycle app is basically a substitution for Zeo (which has the problem of expensive headbands, expensive equipment, and a tricky web site). The main purpose of the app is to wake you up at the right moment so that you will be filled with energy for the whole day. The price is about $1. Pretty amazing compared to $300 for Zeo, and $150 for different kinds of sleep trackers. And the app is in your pocket! I’ve tested it and it works perfectly even when placed on the furniture close to my bed.
So, the Sleep Cycle app might be more precise for our purposes.
I wish these guys would do something for our Lucid Dreaming community. I’ll definitely try to contact them and ask them to add this feature! It might also be a good option to have the app available on Android devices.
Lucid dreaming apps: Lucid Dreamer
The main feature of the Lucid Dreamer app is just a timer that continuously plays a binaural beats track after a predefined amount of time. I’m not against timers at all as I note in the How to lucid dream tonight article. I have two concerns about this, though:
- The timer should be changed every time you go to sleep, otherwise your subconscious start ignoring this little distraction pretty quickly.
- The frequency of the binaural beats track might not correspond to the current sleep stage cycle, which will cause your brain to create a defense against external distractions, causing no effect in the best case scenario and a headache in the worst one (based on research and my experience).For example, if you use this method at the beginning of the night, most likely the timer will go off right in your deep sleep stage cycle (usually, you have the lowest level of awareness there, and it might be quite hard to become lucid).Otherwise, if you use it in the early morning with a combination of Wake-Back-To-Bed (WBTB) you have huge chances of catching REM (when your awareness level is a little higher, and there are more chances to get the desired stage). The REM stage in the morning is shown in the “Meditation feedback. Am I doing this properly?” article.
The developers of Lucid Dreamer were generous enough to unlock all the paid extra features for 3 days. I was interested in the “Paralyzer” feature, which is supposed to help induce a Lucid Dream through the Wake-Induced-Lucid-Dream (WILD).
It’s another type of timer, which sends a little beep every selected interval (as defined by the first slider) and for a selected length of time (as defined by the second slider).
I was a little confused with the interface, which had just two sliders, and didn’t understand it properly, shame on me. Anyway, the biggest concern I have is that the first slider doesn’t go for less than 1 minute, which means you’ll get a tiny beep every minute. Sound good?
How many of you could remain aware for one whole minute? Just try to sit in front of a clock and watch yourself. How often is your concentration interrupted by inner distractions (daily problems, the new show coming tonight on the TV, etc.)?
How many of you could do the same thing with your eyes closed? When going into the dreaming stage, the situation is even worse. I tried counting sheep in the stage where I’m really close to the dream stage. I couldn’t count above 11. On the other hand, in a normal state with my eyes closed, I could count them up to 200 without being distracted by any other stupid thoughts.
Another feature of Lucid Dreamer I tried was Da Vinci. It helps you sleep several hours per day (twenty minutes of sleep per six hours). There are some concerns out there about combining lack of sleep and Lucid Dreaming experience. On the other hand, I heard about a technique where you skip one or two nights of sleep and try to do Wake-Induced-Lucid-Dream (WILD). The idea is you’re so tired that your body falls asleep almost immediately, but your mind doesn’t as quickly.
I had a similar experience in University where I had several hobby projects. I was so excited about them that I considered sleep as my main enemy, and the biggest waste of time in my life. I used Friday and Saturday nights to work continuously.
Usually when doing mental work, you need to take small breaks, close your eyes, and concentrate on your thoughts. One day, I was lying on my bed with my laptop working on some exotic algorithm. I hadn’t slept for one or two nights already and was quite exhausted. I mean I had that feeling of when you’re walking on a street, and it seems like the whole world is pulsing somewhere between you and your eyes.
So, I needed to catch one thought that was flying around and didn’t want to come to me easily. I closed my eyes and immediately appeared somewhere out there, climbing several stories up a fire ladder onto a dark yellow building. I think that it was autumn, and it was quite warm.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see a lot because in the next instant I found myself on my bed. At the time, I hadn’t yet learned anything about Lucid Dreaming. I wasn’t scared. I knew that it was a dream. A little weird and spontaneous, but just a dream.
Anyway, I don’t think that Intentionally missing sleep is quite the safest way to go. I would not recommend this approach for lucid dreaming. It might be harmful for your health, especially if you are under 18. Losing sleep can cause disorders in attention, which could harm you and others.
In a nutshell, should you pay a few bucks for the apps or drop your two lines of code? It’s up to you. 🙂
I believe this category will grow over time, and we will include more awesome lucid dreaming applications that are out there. If you know something that is not covered and deserves attention, please shoot me some comments below, or simply post an article with your experience as I did.