How to Use Your Smartphone to Control Your Dreams

Imagine being able to control the content of your dreams using your smartphone. On the surface, that sounds like a figment of some science fiction writer’s imagination, but the reality is quite different.

Daniel J. Nadler, a graduate student at Harvard, came up with an idea for an app that would allow you to optimize your REM sleep through controlling the content of your dreams. This app, named Sigmund, gives the user the ability to choose five keywords that are whispered throughout the height of your REM cycle.

How Does It Work?

Using it is pretty simple. Before you hit the sheets, tell Sigmund your planned sleep schedule and choose up to five keywords you’d like to have represented in your dreams. When you’re going to bed, sit the phone four feet away from you with the Sigmund app activated. The app itself doubles as an alarm clock, so it could even help you wake up in the morning.

The idea behind Sigmund is fairly simple, but the science comes from years of research at Harvard. An article in the Crimson detailed how Nadler learned about the neurobiology and how he teamed up with an MIT student to develop the application with more than 1,000 pre-recorded words.

The app itself intends to influence your dreams by providing external stimuli during sleep. How many times have you dreamed about something only to find out that something similar was going on during your sleep? Perhaps you’ve been awakened during a dream after hearing your name called by a character in that mental story? Whatever your own experiences, studies have shown that external stimuli can have a direct impact on the goings-on in our dreams.

Does it Work?

To determine whether or not it actually works, all you need to do is take a look at the reviews posted by users on the iTunes App Store.

One user stated, “For someone who never dreams, I actually dreamed using this app.” Another said, “What this app offers is — to my surprise — a whole different world based on the power of verbal suggestion during sleep.”

With 110 five-star ratings and only half that in single star reviews, it’s safe to say that this app works for at least some of its users. According to some reports, the app’s developer expects dreams to be influenced roughly one-third of the time. It may be the kind of experiment you try for a week before you see any actual results.

Where Can I Find It?

Sigmund is available on the iTunes App Store as an iPhone download for $0.99 in the US.

Final Thoughts

Singmund is one of those apps that sounds too good to be true, until you take a look at the science behind it. A simple, intuitive interface allows you to set up to five keywords that you will hear throughout your slumber. Your brain interprets these words, even though you’re asleep, and may insert these ideas into your dreams. For example, if you choose to use the words “plane, lunch, bagel,” you might dream about eating a bagel aboard a plane, or flying a plane made out of bagels during your lunch hour. Either way, there’s a roughly 33% chance that you’ll be dreaming about whatever it is you tell the app you want to dream about.

This could be a remarkable tool for otherwise stressful nights. For example, a student might use the app to have a better night’s sleep with a more positive dream before a big test or an artist might use the device to gain inspiration. Writers could potentially use it to break free of writer’s block, as well. No matter your reasons for wanting to try the app, at $0.99, it’s certainly not going to break the bank to give it a shot.

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • http://my.opera.com/geekgirlfri/blog/ Melinda P

    I’ve used white noise apps to help me fall asleep – I’m intrigued by an app that would help me direct my dreams afterward!

  • Chris Johnson

    Any android apps similar to this? I’ve done a search but couldn’t find any..

  • fortgeorge

    Hope they make an Android one, recently switched from iPhone, so far it has been rather nice. Although having buying similar or the same(but for Android) apps again sucks. =P

  • P8ntmstrg

    Plug the phone into a speaker.  If you don’t want cancer, keep the phone away from your head…
    and your tinfoil hat.