[ad_1]

New Scientist Default Image

WHEN an ancient Egyptian sought an encounter with Bes, the god of fertility and childbirth, they would draw an image of the deity on their hand, wrap that hand and their neck with black cloth, and then settle down to sleep. This practice, described in a papyrus that dates to around 1350 BC, is the earliest documented example of the use of sensory stimulation to try to influence the content of a dream.

Three thousand years on, neuroscientists and psychologists are turning this ancient idea into something more scientific. Overturning long-held preconceptions about the disconnect between our brains and bodies during sleep, these “dream engineers” are using sounds, smells, touch and even bodily movements to influence the content of people’s dreams. In doing so, they have achieved striking benefits, from improving sleep quality and mood to boosting learning and creativity.

Better yet, the dream engineers are now developing dream-induction devices that can be used by anyone in their own home. This raises the prospect that we could all soon be harnessing our sleeping hours to our advantage. However, the power of these techniques on a resting mind is leading some, not least the researchers themselves, to worry about the potential for misuse. “I have no doubt that dream engineering could open many minds, heal others and help us to understand one another more clearly,” says Adam Haar Horowitz at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It could also become an advertising gimmick. We have to proceed with caring and watchful eyes.”

Dream engineering isn’t the same as lucid dreaming,…

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *