London, May 12 :
Do nightmares often wake you up in the middle of the night or make you sweat even during the winter?
They may no longer terrify you as scientists, with the application of an alternating electric current, have now devised a way to induce lucid dreams in which you can change the script of the dreams and give them a new direction.
When the sleepers who never had experienced lucid dreams were applied with a current of 40 Hertz, 77 percent of the time they experienced lucid dreams, the study showed.
So, all of a sudden, the sleepers knew even during their dreams that they were dreaming.
“The dream reports were short, but long enough for them to report,” said Ursula Voss of JW Goethe-University Frankfurt in Germany.
Previous studies had shown that lucid dreaming is associated with increased gamma activity in the frontal and temporal regions of the brain.
The new study revealed that it is possible to increase the gamma activity of the brain when the frontal cortex of the brain is stimulated with electric current.
“We were surprised that it is possible to force the brain to take on a frequency from the outside, and for the brain to actually vibrate in that frequency and actually show an effect,” Voss added.
For the study, the researchers placed electrodes on the scalps of 27 participants, who had no experience of lucid dreaming, over several night to stimulate the frontal cortex, and recreate the gamma wave activity that has been seen in lucid dreamers.
They applied the 30-second bolts of electrical currents, two minutes after the sleepers had entered the dreaming stage of sleep, as shown by the activity patterns of their brains.
The EEG (electroencephalography) data showed that the brain’s gamma activity increased during stimulation with 40 Hz, and to a lesser degree during stimulation with 25 Hz.
The gamma activity increased even more when people experienced lucid dreams after stimulation.
People who have lucid dreams can manipulate their dreams as an extra state of consciousness – one that we experience during wakefulness – overlaps at that time with the one that already exists in normal dreaming.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Neuroscience.