Now, app that banishes nightmares | HT Tech

Now, app that banishes nightmares

Scientists have come up with a phone app that subliminally influences people as they sleep and gives them their perfect dream by playing a ‘soundscape’.

| Updated on: Apr 10 2012, 13:47 IST

Scientists have come up with a phone app that subliminally influences people as they sleep and gives them their perfect dream by playing a 'soundscape'.

Users can choose from a range of options including peaceful rural settings, busy street scenes, or even dramatic adventures set in space.

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Professor Richard Wiseman, who helped develop the programme, believes it could help those who suffer from sleeping disorders or depression.

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The Hertfordshire University psychologist intends to collect thousands of records from users of the app as part of a mass experiment for the Edinburgh International Science Festival to find out how easy it is to influence dreams.

The app, dubbed Dream: ON, is free and can be downloaded by iPhone users from Tuesday. An Android version is planned for later in the year.

Before going to bed, the user selects the time they want to wake up and chooses their ideal dream scenario, the Daily Mail reported.

They then put their phone face down on the mattress - preferably close to their head - and it uses a motion sensor to detect when the sleeper is dreaming.

During the night, we pass through cycles made up of three different stages of sleep. During deep and light sleep, the first two stages, we are restless in bed.

But during rapid eye movement, or REM sleep - the time in which we dream - the brain paralyses the body so that we do not act out our dreams and harm ourselves.

The app waits until the last period of REM sleep before the chosen waking time and then plays the soundscape.

Once this dreaming sleep ends, the app wakes up the user within a minute to boost the chances of them remembering the dream. They are invited to record their dream and submit a description into an online database.

Some of the soundscapes are designed to encourage 'lucid dreaming', where the sleeper is conscious that they are dreaming and can influence what happens.

Soundscapes including the mimicked voices of celebrities, actors and even President Barack Obama are also planned.

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First Published Date: 10 Apr, 13:23 IST