# Do lucid dream eyemasks work?

There seems to be a few eyemasks available that claim to help the wearer achieve lucid dreaming. For example:

The NovaDreamer lucid dream mask works by detecting Rapid Eye Movement (REM) while you are asleep and dreaming. The mask then flashes a series of lights through your closed eyelids; a stimulus which becomes incorporated into your dream. [...] This is your cue to recognize that you are dreaming and become lucid. -- NovaDreamer

Another examples is Remee.

Is there peer-reviewed evidence (or even preliminary data) that lucid dream eyemasks can promote lucid dreaming in a laboratory?

There doesn't seem to be much material about these outside of sales material and news items (which makes me suspicious).

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I think this question might be better suited for Skeptics. –  Chuck Sherrington Sep 23 '12 at 13:47
–  Steven Jeuris Sep 23 '12 at 19:06
I asked here because I was hoping for an answer like: "Oh yes, I've used a similar device in my research on [blah blah blah]". But, if it becomes a debunking question, I agree it's better at Skeptics. –  Douglas S. Stones Sep 23 '12 at 22:29
I didn't vote to close it or anything in the chance that someone might come along with some information like that. I suspect it will be more of a marketing thing, but I think it might be an interesting topic for a question even without the mask portion. –  Chuck Sherrington Sep 24 '12 at 9:22
No, there is no reliable cue that has been shown to get integrated into dream content, while remaining recognizable. Highly trained people can recognize light, but there's no evidence that laymen can put on an LED mask and become lucid. –  Alex Stone Nov 5 '12 at 19:01

I will take a stab at this question, because lucid dreaming is somewhat of an area of expertise of mine.

The first thing that you will notice as you explore the lucid dreaming is that the phenomenon is poorly recognized by modern sleep science. There are hundreds of articles that use scientific methods to study sleep disorders, like sleep apneas, restless leg, delayed sleep phase, etc. But I've yet to find a scientific, peer reviewed article that has touched upon lucid dream induction with external devices.

Outside Dr. LaBerge and another scientist whose name escapes me at the moment, the majority of lucid dream induction research is done by independent agents, like myself. Such people have very little formal scientific education, poor access to tools, and are unlikely to publish papers to scientific, peer reviewed journals. Did I mention that a night of laboratory sleep study with Polysomnography costs somewhere around 3000$? There's a lot of anectodatal evidence and other first hand accounts of what works and what does not, but if science is a subject to publication bias, then such self reported experiences are extremely affected by the desire to find an approach that works. This is why you hear a lot about methods that worked once or twice, but cannot be demonstrated to work reliably over extended periods of time, and for different people. Lucid Dreaming Masks are a good example of technology that was developed outside the mainstream science. It uses primitive methods of detecting rapid eye movement sleep, which are still effective, but are disconnected from the data analysis tools. I'm not aware of any sleeping masks that log data, so the user cannot even look at when the signaling took place to adjust the signaling. It is like stabbing blindly with random patterns and hoping that something will happen. But detecting REM sleep is only the first part of the equation, the good thing is that REM detection is getting to be practically free with iPhone and inexpensive lucid dreaming masks. The second part is that a stimulus must be found that is effective at "inducing a lucid dream". My own experiments can hardly be called laboratory, and most of them use iPhone actigraphy. I can tell you that I tried various types of audio, light and vibration cues, which were delivered as close to REM as I could manage. As much as I wanted to say that they work, they don't. My lucid dreaming smartphone apps have been published to the app store and have tens of thousands of users. For all the customization options that I included in the apps, I've yet to hear a single "Yes, I'm absolutely certain that an external cue has triggered a lucid dream for me" from the users. Occasionally there may be some connection noticed or something that happens in a dream may be linked to the external cue playing in the real world. But the majority of lucid dreams that are experienced by the device users can just as well be linked to the fact that a user is more interested and aware of the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. If you read about first hand experiences with lucid dream inducing masks, then you will find out that the statements above are echoed many times - once in a while there's something that flashes in a dream, but it is very difficult to recognize. This is what people who spent 500$ on a mask say over and over again.

To conclude, I'd say that regardless of what you look at - Remee, NovaDreamer, REM Dreamer or various iPhone/Android apps for lucid dream induction, there's nothing currently at the market that can put a novice into a state of lucid dreaming on the first night, without training.

I would love to test them in a real lab though.

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Interesting! Thanks for that. –  Douglas S. Stones Nov 6 '12 at 1:35