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ICYMI: Lucid Dreamers Can Communicate in Their Sleep

  • Published5 Mar 2021
  • Author Alexis Wnuk
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN
bedroom with led lights
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Lucid Dreamers Can Communicate in Their Sleep

It’s possible to communicate with people in their sleep, researchers reported last month in Current Biology. International teams of scientists studied 36 people who experience lucid dreams, a state where you become aware that you’re asleep and dreaming and can sometimes control your dreams. The researchers wanted to know if these individuals could respond to questions during the REM stage of sleep by moving their eyes. Muscles are paralyzed during this stage where most dreaming occurs, except those controlling breathing and eye movements — hence the name, Rapid Eye Movement sleep. Across multiple trials, participants correctly answered simple questions while they slept around 20% of the time. For instance, when they asked one young man what 8 minus 6 was, he responded by moving his eyes left-right twice to indicate 2.

Big picture: Dreams are a bit of a black box — scientists aren’t sure why they happen or what purpose they serve. They’re also challenging to study because many people have trouble recalling their dreams once they’re awake. The findings of the new study may offer scientists a new way to study dreams in more detail.

Read more: Scientists Talked To People In Their Dreams. They Answered. NPR

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