Although we may be tired, many of us find that our minds can seem at their most active when trying to fall asleep. Listening to soothing music or podcasts can help us drift off to dreamland, but whether you sleep beside an easily woken partner or just have paper thin walls, finding a way to listen comfortably without disturbing anyone can be difficult. On the market for a few years now, sleep-aid headphones help keep us comfortable whilst allowing us to listen to high quality audio without creating unnecessary distraction for others. However, researchers are discovering that there may be other potential uses for these wearable sleep aids, as yet untapped. One such usage is the possibility of lucid dreaming.
This OneHowTo article will let you discover How Sleep Headphones Can Help You to Lucid Dream. Doing so could help you unlock the keys to your subconscious which might improve your quality of life in the waking world.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
If the idea of strapping on some wired up headgear to enter into a dreamscape of the unconscious sounds like science fiction to you, that is because, technically, it is. While some form of the concept of lucid dreaming has been around for millennia and serious university research has been carried out since at least the mid-20th century, there is still scepticism over either its validity or its form.
What is almost undeniable is that our subconscious has information about our psyche which our conscious selves, for whatever reason, can keep hidden from us. The concept of lucid dreaming is a process whereby someone who is sleeping becomes aware that they are dreaming and, to take it to its logical conclusion, is able to exert some conscious influence over their unconscious selves.
Some have furthered that to be in a true lucid dream you not only need to be aware that you are dreaming, but that you can change the physical laws of the dream (i.e. that they are fluid) and that you retain a conscious link to the "real" waking world. The purposes of attempting to lucid dream are often for self-improvement, particularly when we consider nightmares. Being aware of a nightmare can help us remove ourselves from its fearful grip. They can also help us visualize potential scenarios, live out our fantasies or even gain transcendence.
What has been proven in scientific studies is that using Lucid Dream Therapy techniques can help reduce the regularity of nightmares and help improve sleep. Whether or not this is due to the more holistic methods of LDT or something more revealing about lucid dreaming is unsure. What is sure is that it has both the world of psychology and the tech world marvelling at its potential, so there is more and more work going into understand the phenomenon.
If you think you might like to make an attempt at lucid dreaming, take a look at our Beginner's Guide to Lucid Dreaming Techniques.
How Sleep Headphones Work
Most headphones, whether in-ear monitors (IEM) or over-ear phones, are not comfortable for sleeping purposes. Even though earbud IEMs are small, they can still dig into the ear canal and cause discomfort for those of us who are side sleepers. Over-ear headphones have a similar problem, but are often even more cumbersome.
Sleep headphones have reduced discomfort while sleeping by creating soft pads which do not cause a nuisance when lying on your side. They are often worn as a headband which wraps around your head for extra cushioning. There is a difference between sleep headphones and noise cancelling headphones. The latter are great if you are trying to block out noise which is hindering your sleep, but they are not specifically designed to be worn while lying down. A good pair of sleep headphones will both block out noise and be comfortable to use while lying in a bed.
Another consideration is the wire which connects our headphones to whichever player we are using. Although unlikely to choke us, the wire from our headphones can get in the way and wake us up, especially if we are light sleepers who toss and turn often. Wireless headphones solve this problem, but they can be a more costly solution than their wired counterparts.
How Can Sleep Headphones Help Lucid Dreaming?
The benefits of sleep headphones aren't merely practical as they also can have sensors, called accelerometers, which sense and measure the vibrations of the body. More advanced wireless sleep headphones have a bluetooth function which can send the information picked up by the accelerometers to an application on your smartphone. The sleep headphone company Acoustic Sheep have designed the pioneering headphones which have this function, but the benefits it might have for lucid dreaming are not at the forefront of their business model.
The original intention was to create a system which monitored your sleep and configured which type of music or sounds were having the best effect on your sleep patterns. This way it could create a playlist of the best sounds which work for your particular sleep habits.
How this works in lucid dreaming is that our "best" or deepest sleep is something called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is the time when we are most likely to be dreaming. The accelerometers on the headphones are able to tell when you are in this stage of sleep and, theoretically, you could program the app to play a song which would gently wake your mind (and enable you to enter a lucid dream), but keep your body asleep. Other techniques for lucid dreaming use similar methods to allow you entry into the dream world, but, if feasible, this is a great way to combine better sleep with self-improvement all thanks to this wearable technology.
What is the Future of Lucid Dreaming Technology?
While Acoustic Sheep may not be flogging their wares by publicizing the potential lucid dream capabilities, other companies are trying their best to corner this market early. Even a cursory google search found at least 3 Kickstarter campaigns to get their lucid dream enabling products out there.
One such product is the iBand+, a wrap around wearable unit which not only provides auditory stimulus, but visual aids to help enter a lucid dream during REM. There are similar products which do the visual part, like the Remee sleep mask, but not many which have this more holistic and immersive experience.
Unfortunately most of these products are in the beta stages and need more funding to help launch them. With the effects and feasibility of lucid dreaming still at a speculative stage, you can see why it might be difficult to get investment. However, if one focuses on the possibility that lucid dreaming is indeed achievable, the potential for self-improvement of both the individual and the species at large is vast.
If you have some experiences of lucid dreaming and would like to share with the community, please leave us a comment below. Let us know if you have used our beginner's guide and whether or not it was successful.
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How Sleep Headphones Can Help You to Lucid Dream, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.