Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Background: All of us have dreams at night, and I believe that all of us wonder how a dream of a lapse of seconds could convince our consciousness that this has taken the span of a lifetime. As far as I know, the REM phase – in which we have dreams – does not take more than 20 min, while we can feel after a dream that it's a year after the last time we have been awake...Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Another interesting aspect in dreams is that space and time are subject to distortion, and the capacities of the mind to handle information is far away from its capacities in the awakened state, so the acuity with which someone can paradoxically "resolve" problems while asleep is no wonder, and by that I mention lucid dreaming.

Drugs can alter our capacities to perceive our environments and ourselves, so that someone can ignore even the worst feeling of pain while he is taking barbiturates for instance, and the point of this is that what can be illogical within some context can be possible and therefore logical in another context. Not to mention that hypnosis can bring a hidden aspect of our personality to higher levels of consciousness, make someone think he is another person or even another "thing" and so on...

I wonder if it is possible to provoke a state that is similar to lucid dreaming in a person that is awake...The idea is intuitive, even childish, and I received a comment that it's not logical, as lucid dreaming while awake contradicts the definition of awakened/sleep states...Of course this should be illogical at the first glance, but that is the point of my question. I hope I found the right words to explain my idea...

My question: Is it possible to provoke a fusion between dreams and reality so that our brains handle information of the real world in the same way as it happens in dreams?

share|improve this question

closed as unclear what you're asking by Chuck Sherrington, Nick Stauner, Keegan Keplinger, Krysta, user30295 Jun 25 at 23:48

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Yes, it's called IMAX. –  Chuck Sherrington May 16 at 15:49

1 Answer 1

Just speaking from personal experience, I've never experienced time distortion in my dreams as extremely as you describe. I've experienced moments scattered throughout narratives that would take longer than 20 minutes to elapse in real life, but since I never recall experiencing every single moment of those narratives, I wouldn't assume my sense of time had altered while dreaming. Maybe I'd just skipped around, experiencing only 20 minutes' worth of the dreams' narratives, or maybe I'd only imagined those moments as joined by an implicit narrative and not really experienced time passing during any one of them. I'd love to see empirical research on this, but it's somewhat hard for me to imagine how reliable information on these matters could be collected.

The duration of REM sleep is more objectively observable than the contents of dreams; I was surprised to find that Google produces a reference immediately in response to the query, "duration of rem sleep":

The first REM period of the night may be less than 10 minutes in duration, while the last may exceed 60 minutes. [Stevens, 2013]

While cognitive function is clearly different while dreaming, I'm unaware of any evidence that it's enhanced in any ways that would be desirable during wakefulness. If you or anyone else can find any references to support your ideas, we could probably have a much more productive discussion here. Similarly, I'm skeptical of the comparisons of lucid dreaming to hypnosis and intoxication. These may be very different states of consciousness, and I definitely wouldn't call them "higher states".

Just to preserve the coherence of your response to my answer, here's the old content worth keeping:

Lucid dreams are by definition both conscious and occurrent during sleep, therefore:

  • It's not logically possible to have a lucid dream while awake. If you're trying to refer to a similar state that is not a dream, please define it directly rather than by analogy to a dream state.
  • Lucid dreams do not need to be brought to the boundaries of consciousness; they occur within those boundaries by definition. Maybe you mean to ask for ways of making ordinary dreams lucid.

The old "Let me Google Scholar that for you" offers plenty on lucid dreams and means of induction. I'll even copy, paste, and format some below...(I'm absolutely not vouching for their scientific validity BTW. "Medical Hypotheses"? Sounds legit...) Looks like there are about 2,878 more where these came from.

· Barrett, D. (1992). Just how lucid are lucid dreams? Dreaming, 2(4), 221–228.
· Garfield, P. (1975). Psychological concomitants of the lucid dream state. Sleep Research, 4, 184.
· Gillespie, G. (1983). Memory and reason in lucid dreams: A personal observation. Lucidity Letter, 2(1), 8–9.
· Green, C. E. (1968). Lucid dreams (Vol. 1). Institute of Psychophysical Research.
· Hearne, K. M. (1983). Lucid dream induction. Journal of Mental Imagery, 7(1), 19–23.
· LaBerge, S. P. (1980). Lucid dreaming as a learnable skill: A case study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51(3f), 1039–1042.
· LaBerge, S. P., Nagel, L. E., Dement, W. C., & Zarcone Jr, V. P. (1981). Lucid dreaming verified by volitional communication during REM sleep. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 52(3), 727–732.
· Sergio, W. (1988). Use of DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) in the induction of lucid dreams. Medical Hypotheses, 26(4), 255–257.
· Stevens, M. S. (2013). Normal sleep in adults, infants, and the elderly. Medscape: Normal sleep, sleep physiology, and sleep deprivation. Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1188226-overview.
· Tart, C. (1979). From spontaneous event to lucidity: A review of attempts to consciously control nocturnal dreaming. In B. Wolman, M. Ullman, & W. Webb (Eds.), Handbook of dreams: Research, theories and applications (pp. 226–268). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
· Tart, C. (1984). Terminology in lucid dream research. Lucidity Letter, 3(1), 4–6. Retrieved from http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/terminol.htm.
· Tholey, P. (1983). Relation between dream content and eye movements tested by lucid dreams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 56, 875–878.
· van Eeden, F. (1969). A study of dreams. In C. Tart (Ed.), Altered states of consciousness (pp. 145–157). New York: Wiley.

share|improve this answer
thanks for the references –  jihed gasmi May 21 at 9:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.