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Living the Dream

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Exploring the concept of lucid dreaming, and why research into sleep science has culminated in the launch of an app that you could only dream of!

Dreams are odd. They can be things of complete and utter joy or frightening nightmares where you just want to wake up. Would our dreams be different if we had the power to control them? This is where lucid dreaming comes into play. This is a type of dreaming where you, the dreamer are aware that you are in the dream therefore granting you a new level of control over what happens within said dream.

The term was first coined by Frederik van Eeden, a Dutch author and psychiatrist in 1913 and from this point on lucid dreaming became a great topic of scientific research. Decades later and lucid dreaming is said to help improve creativity, problem solving and language skills as well as aid those suffering with phobias and anxiety. It is the new found control within the dreamscape which allows such improvement to occur. Lucid Dreaming takes practice however with veterans of the technique highlighting the length of time it took them to master.

“Lucid dreaming can help improve creativity, problem solving and language skills”

 

Frederik van Eeden. source: wikimedia.commons
Frederik van Eeden. source: wikimedia.commons

This is where the iBand + comes into play. A device designed by Arenar- a technology start-up- in Amsterdam, consisting of a headband, pillow speakers and smartphone app. Its unique selling point is that it boasts the ability to induce lucid dreaming, amongst other, more sleep enhancing, qualities. In keeping with the primary topic, the device stimulates lucid dreaming through audio-visual cues. The headband detects brainwaves, monitoring them in addition to the stages of sleep the body experiences. Once the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep is reached, the device plays calming sounds from the pillow speakers which intelligently adjust to the natural sleep cycle whilst light patterns are emitted through the red, green and blue (RGB) LEDs set into the headset.

“The headband detects brainwaves, monitoring them as well as the stages of sleep the body experiences”

REM sleep has been connected to lucid dreaming since the proposal of such from Celia Green in 1968. Such an association was proven by Stephen LaBerge through the use of Electroencephalography (EEG). This combination of audio-visual effects is intended to awaken your awareness within your dream world without actually waking you up. The system uses the aforementioned EEG within its technological composition allowing the sensing of electrical activity to occur. But the iBand + is not just for the induction of lucid dreaming; its creators have promoted that their device can help you both dream and sleep. The biometric sensors within the device can track body movement, heart rate and body temperature. These integrated sensors can additionally monitor your fitness levels, despite the lack of physical activity. All these extra observations by the device can offer an indication of the user’s mental and physical state, which could determine potential sleep issues.

Simplified sleep phases by Kernsters. source: wikimedia.commons
Simplified sleep phases by Kernsters. source: wikimedia.commons

“iBand+ can indicate the user’s mental and physical state- determining potential sleep issues”

And where would a new technological gadget be if it didn’t have a funky app to accompany it? The app allows you to monitor what your body is getting up to during the night, the quality of your sleep and how you can change your sleep pattern to maximise the positive effect on your body. The app offers easily accessible and interpretable graphs and ratings to help you understand where you’re going wrong at night. The device is so concerned with sleep improvement that it even offers you the chance to awaken feeling refreshed, rather than the typical groggy feeling many of us feel as we hit the snooze button for the fourth time and nestle back into our sheets.

Woman sleeping. Source: pixabay

This glorious awakening is caused by the device knowing when you should awaken through its inspection of your sleep cycle; once this information is known, the system will imitate daylight through simulated natural sunlight and sound during the optimum stage of your sleep cycle. The creator, Samir Raut, has stated that the company “truly believe that iBand + will enhance people’s quality of life”, and from the aforementioned features it’s easy to see why.

“iband+ imitates daylight using simulated natural sunlight and sound during the optimum stage of your sleep cycle”

The idea is definitely proving popular as the company’s kickstarter page asked for €50,000 and, as of now, the company has been sponsored an amazing €644,249! People want to experience the ultimate virtual reality, or maybe just want a good night’s sleep. Luckily this quirky device offers users both.

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