Inception: Here are 4 lucid dreaming apps to help you control your dreams
Ever heard of lucid dreaming? It is basically a state you enter when you happen to realize that you are asleep and dreaming. This can instantly change the landscape and story of your dream, as you become aware of the fact that you can control everything in this unreal environment by just re-imagining it. Freaky stuff right there – most people who fall in a lucid dream for the first time just simply choose to wake up immediately. Those who manage to revisit the state a second and third time choose to experiment and bend the imaginary world to their will, soon finding out that this can be a truly amazing experience. The most common case of a lucid dream is when one wakes up in the middle of a dream, but instead of jumping out of bed, decides to force themselves back to sleep to "finish" it. In the cases where one will often find themselves in a slightly different story or environment – one that they wanted to find when re-entering the dream.
Now, of course, there are a number of people who have chosen to study lucid dreaming, as well as train their minds to become aware within dreams more often and for longer periods of time. And of course, in this day and age – there is an app for that! Many apps, in fact. The general ideas behind a lucid dreaming app are to give you the basic information about the state, as well as help you "train" to get yourself in it more often. They use a combination of sleep tracking — the same concept that we've seen in "smart alarm clocks" — and audio cues that should trigger your mind to question whether it's dreaming or not.
Price: free (IAPs)
Download for Android
One of the most popular lucid dream assistants — Awoken — is an Android exclusive, and a pretty good choice for beginners. It employs the tried-and-tested classic techniques. During the day, Awoken will send you random notifications to do a "reality check" – ask yourself whether you are dreaming or not. This conditions the mind to ask this question on demand. Then, at night, the app will play the so-called "totem sound", which, with enough training, should trigger a reality check and bring about a lucid experience. Awoken will also remind you to write down your dream as soon as you wake up – keeping a dream journal is important, as it helps you remember your dreams. And remembering your dreams will help you identify the odd occurrences in them, which will in turn trigger a natural reality check within your next dreams.
Lucid Dreamer also has the sleep journal and reality check training, but it delves a bit deeper with a few other, more experimental modes. For example, it has a Paralyzer, which helps you enter the so-called sleep paralysis – the state when your body is asleep, but your mind is still somewhat awake. Tread carefully with this one, as it may cause some nasty hallucinations – do read up on sleep paralysis if you are not acquainted with the phenomenon. The app can also help you to adjust your sleep cycles to a schedule which better suits your body, as well as do exercises to shape your dreams before you go to sleep.
10 Steps to Lucid Dreams
Download for Android
Training to get into the lucid dream state broken down into 10 steps. This app is a great guide for beginners and advanced alike, as it will teach you about lucidity, how to achieve it on a constant basis, how to enhance it and retain it for longer periods. Worth a read-through even if you are not into the idea of trying it, but are curious to find out more, just for the sake of knowing.
Download for iOS
DreamZ uses a combination of sleep tracking and trigger sounds. It's a very basic take on lucid dream induction, as it relies on your mind's auto-learning capacity and doesn't take you through reality check training phases. Basically, the app will detect when you are in REM (the sleep stage in which dreams occur) and play a specific trigger sound. After a few nights, your brain should begin to get the message "Wait a second – this sound means that I am currently dreaming!", which should, in turn, increase the chances of you realizing that you are in a dream and gaining lucidity.