Lucid Dreaming Could Be The Key To Unlocking The Brain’s Biggest Mysteries
January 20, 2016 Ezra
Humans spend about a third of their lives sleeping, and about 25% of that time dreaming. Since roughly 50,000 hours – about 6 years – of our lives are spent in this stage of sleep, it is seen as a subject of great importance to science. Much research today is devoted to the study of dreaming, but one area of research surrounding lucid dreaming may unlock some of the most burning questions we have yet to answer about our brains and consciousness itself.
We here at Spirit Science have covered lucid dreaming extensively, including how one might induce this state within themselves. Scientific evidence points to the possibility that any and all can experience a lucid dream. A recent study of German adults found that about half of us experience lucid dreaming at least once in our lives.
Despite this, actual knowledge of the phenomenon is vague due to the fact that it is largely untouched by experts up to this point. Historically, it is quite difficult to study the brains of those who are experiencing a lucid dream. For one, participants in such a study would have to spend the night in a brain scanner. Not only that, but researchers would need a solid method with which to determine a lucid dream state opposed to normal REM sleep.
Recently, however, dream science researchers have uncovered methods by which a lucid state might be known to be occurring in a study participant. Many of these involve a predetermined signal the participant can give while conscious in the dream, so that researchers can know when and for how long the subject is lucid dreaming.
Methods such as these have allowed scientists to better study the lucid dreaming state. Specifically, we know now that lucid dreaming is associated with activity in the frontal lobes of the brain responsible for high cognitive functioning. Before, it was only thought that these areas of the brain were active during periods of waking. Further research has discovered that stimulating these areas of the brain during a lucid state can even increase the power of the dreamer to be conscious in that state.
This leads us to the problem of consciousness. Neuroscientists still don’t know exactly what causes consciousness to arise in the brain, however, the study of lucid dreaming is now helping to find answers to questions remaining in the area of consciousness research.
Now that we can compare differences in brain activity between a lucid and non-lucid dream via these predetermined signals, we can see how the brain functions to yield higher awareness in a lucid state. This activity in the brain not only shows us how such heightened awareness functions biologically, but how it arises altogether.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Conversation
Thanks to: http://thespiritscience.net