Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category
A proper night’s sleep is absolutely essential for our long-term health and mental well-being. But getting enough sleep – and sleep of the best quality – is a requirement we often fail to meet. Taking sleeping pills is both addictive and dangerous, while simple breathing or mental exercises just aren’t effective for most of us. Sleep meditation, however, can guide us down to a deep sleep amazingly well because it works in harmony with our natural sleep cycles. For anyone who desperately wants to finally enjoy proper sleep, sleep meditation is the effective, harmless, and non-addictive solution you’ve been looking for.
An Overview of Natural Sleep Cycles
A full night’s sleep comprises several distinct cycles, each lasting 90 – 110 minutes on average. An individual cycle consists of separate stages, which are broadly divided into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-REM) sleep, with REM occupying proportionately more time as the night progresses and one cycle follows another. REM sleep, as most people know, is when we dream; there is still no firm consensus on exactly what purpose dreaming serves. NREM sleep is further divided into three stages of its own. N1 is a period of drowsiness with progressive loss of conscious awareness. The brain’s dominant electrical activity changes from the Alpha wave (7 – 13Hz) associated with relaxation to the Theta wave (4 – 7Hz) associated with the subconscious. N2 is a transitional phase marked by spikes of quite high frequency without consciousness. N3 is deep sleep and is characterized by very slow Delta waves.
The Dangers of Inadequate Sleep and Inappropriate Solutions
For most adults, 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night is optimal, though there are a few people (roughly 3% of us) who are able to do fine on less thanks to a genetic mutation. The timing of sleep during the day is governed by the circadian rhythm, a kind of natural inner clock which influences hormone levels and body temperature. Trying to circumvent the circadian rhythm is as unwise as not getting enough sleep. Long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to a doubling of the risk of heart disease as well as greater risks of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The psychological risks include depression and bi-polar disorder.
All too often, it is the process of falling asleep in the first place that is problematic. We just can’t seem to switch off, and the difficulty tends to be greatest at stressful times in our lives when we least need to have this problem! Pills and alcohol are two crude ways of trying to fall asleep, but they entail their own long-term effects, and can interfere with our natural sleep cycles. Nightmares, for example, are much more likely when alcohol is used, as REM sleep is suppressed in the early cycles until the alcohol has worn off; after this, the brain has a lot of “catching up” to do and this tends to result in extremely vivid dream imagery.
Sleep Meditation and Sleep Cycles
Sleep meditation is a far better answer, and has become even more effective in recent years thanks to developments in the audio technology of brainwave entrainment. While traditional meditation has always been useful in quieting the mind and aiding relaxation, it is a skill that requires dedicated practice and one that relatively few can master. Thankfully, the new sound recordings that have become available mean that anyone can benefit from sleep meditation and, even better, the effects can be felt even after you have gone to sleep. How is this possible?
A well-engineered sleep-meditation recording exposes the brain to periods of each frequency associated with falling asleep, taking you gradually down through Alpha and Theta and eventually into the deep sleep of Delta. It is this Delta state that we most need to reach, for it is here that the body’s repair mechanisms kick into high gear, releasing anti-aging and growth hormones and even stimulating the regeneration of cellular DNA. And the first sleep cycle – the one we have the most trouble falling into – is where the deepest Delta sleep occurs. While traditional meditation can help you fall asleep, it cannot continue to encourage your brain to resonate at the Delta frequency in the way that a sleep meditation recording can.
If you’re ready to try a sleep meditation recording for yourself, you want to make sure that you only use professionally-engineered recordings with demonstrated results. You will find an intelligent guide to these recordings here: Sleep Meditation MP3.
Lucid dreaming – the art of being consciously aware while you are dreaming, and potentially influencing the course of your dreams – offers us limitless freedom and creativity. But most people simply find it too difficult and give up long before they’ve been able to enjoy the experience. It almost seems unfair that some people can look forward every night to flying through the mountains of Pandora with the dragons of Avatar while most of us are permanently grounded! Is there an easier, better way to lucid dream?
Lucid Dreaming Techniques – The Standard Methods
The foremost scholar of lucid dreaming is Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University, whose dissertation and subsequent books legitimized the field. He recommends the following methods:
Develop your ability to remember your dreams by writing down as much detail as you can as soon as you wake up. Dream recall is crucial as it conditions you to recognize how the dream state looks and feels, helping you to recognize when you are in fact dreaming.
Practice a “reality test” by looking at a set of written numbers, or a piece of text, two or three times in quick succession. The numbers won’t change when you’re awake, but they will almost always change by the third look when you’re dreaming. Ingraining this test into your daily routine will help you know when a dream experience is indeed just a dream.
While awake, deliberately imagine that you are in fact dreaming, imagine how it looks and feels, and then think about what you’d like to do in your dreams. Have fun with this!
Study your dreams for characteristic markers (“dreamsigns”) that let you know you are dreaming. These signs will be different for each of us, but there will be particular images, characters, or bizarre representations of places that we recognize as our unique dream “furniture.”
Before going to sleep, and after awakening from a dream and before going back to sleep, set a firm intention to become lucid during your next dream. Affirm this intention repeatedly until you are sure your subconscious mind has got the message!
The Best Way to Lucid Dream
LaBerge’s research demonstrated that one of the best ways to lucid dream was to take naps, especially in the morning roughly 30 minutes after waking up an hour earlier than normal. This is fascinating, because it is very similar to what Thomas Edison deliberately did to exploit the problem-solving potential of the dream state. The key here is that periods of wakefulness are interjected between periods of sleep.
This finding ties in very neatly with a new approach to lucid dream induction, taking advantage of the audio technology of brainwave entrainment. In this approach, the brain is encouraged to operate in the frequencies that characterize different stages of sleep and lucidity. When combined correctly, the effect can yield results that are much more reliable than the rather hit-or-miss standard methods. To see what this is all about and try a free sample of the technology, visit this website. Start thinking about what you want to do in your dreams, because you’ve just been cleared for lift off!
At least ten percent of people have an out-of-body experience (OBE) at some point in their lives. This is the experience of leaving your body behind but still being able to perceive the physical world from some remote location. Those of a spiritual bent refer to this as astral projection or remote viewing. It is one of the most profound experiences we can possibly have as human beings, and research shows this experience is much more common among those who have mastered the art of lucid dreaming.
Lucid Dreaming as the Gateway to Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs)
Lucid dreaming involves a combination of wakefulness and sleep, a difficult balancing act that a skilled (or gifted) few are able to use to remain consciously aware while dreaming. This opens the door to the ultimate creative realm, and connects us to subconscious levels of the self not normally accessible to the waking mind.
Leading dream researchers have found that those who are most adept at lucid dreaming are the most likely to have out-of-body experiences. They distinguish between two types of lucid dream: dream-induced lucid dreams (DILDs), in which the dreamer has learned to use some cue detected in the dream state to become aware that he is dreaming; and waking-induced lucid dreams (WILDs), in which the dreamer wakes up and then returns to the dream state, successfully executing an intention to become lucid when dreaming resumes. It turns out that WILDs are much more likely to result in OBEs.
REM Sleep, Sleep Paralysis, and Out-of-Body Experiences
Sleep paralysis refers to the action of the Reticular Activating System of the brainstem, which cuts off the muscles from the brain when the brain goes into REM sleep; i.e., starts to dream. This protects the body by preventing it from attempting to act out the dream. It also liberates the mind from the burden of controlling the body in physical reality, contributing to the creativity of the dream state.
Sleep paralysis is often felt by lucid dreamers as they experience first-hand the isolation of the body from the brain. This is particularly the case in waking-induced lucid dreams, where the dreamer passes through a period of wakefulness and then returns to REM sleep. It is theorized that this cessation of sensory input contributes to the feeling of leaving the body, as the portion of the mind that remains aware is used to having a body and the creative, dreaming mind is happy to conjure one up – just not the physical one we’re used to. And the loss of the sensation of gravity pulling one down to earth may translate into the feeling of floating that is so often reported in OBEs.
So Are Out-of-Body Experiences Just Lucid Dreams?
Lucid dreamers are in a better position to answer this question than anyone else. They have the option of subjecting their OBE to “reality tests” to determine whether it is real or just a dream. For example, they can read something twice and see if it stays the same. The few people who have had OBEs without being adept at lucid dreaming are much more likely to conclude that the experience – powerfully convincing as it is – couldn’t possibly be “a mere dream.” But they have no way to test that assumption.
If OBEs are a form of lucid dream, does that make them any less fascinating or potentially enjoyable? The answer to that question turns on our own hierarchy of validity. Are personal dreams less legitimate experiences than the “public dream” commonly referred to as the physical world? Or do we believe, like the Australian Aborigines, that dreams connect us to the immortal “dreamtime” from which all life came and to which all life ultimately returns?
Of course, the best way to evaluate this mystery is to have these experiences yourself. Yet if both lucid dreaming and out-of-body experiences are rare and difficult, how are we going to do that? A relatively new audio technology known as brainwave entrainment offers a fast and easy route to exploring these personal frontiers. To see just how much is possible, visit this website.
Lucid dreaming – the art of remaining consciously aware while in the dream state – offers many enticing rewards but is extremely difficult to master. Or at least it has been up to now. But today, a relatively new audio technology called brainwave entrainment is making the ultimate creative freedom of lucid dreams more accessible than ever before. You no longer need to be particularly gifted, or to practice for years; all you need is an MP3 player and the willingness to relax and try.
The Brainwave Entrainment Revolution
Brainwave entrainment encompasses several methods that encourage the brain to function at particular brainwave frequencies. The technology takes advantage of a phenomenon known as the frequency following response, in which the brain’s electrical activity tends to mimic the frequency of sensory stimuli, such as flashing lights or pulsing sounds. These methods have been refined in recent years, and the advent of digital recordings that can be downloaded from the internet has made them almost outrageously accessible. It is not so very long ago that these methods could only be employed in a fully-equipped science laboratory, and we need to remind ourselves sometimes just how fortunate we are to have such tools at our disposal.
The easiest methods of brainwave entrainment are binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones. All can be played by an MP3 player, or a CD player if burned to disc. Monaural beats and isochronic tones are the most effective and do not require the use of headphones, which is rather important for our purposes. We do not really want to try sleeping with headphones on!
How Brainwave Entrainment Can Help Us Lucid Dream
Dreaming occurs during R.E.M. sleep when the brain is operating in the Theta range (3.5 – 7Hz). The first period of R.E.M. sleep is typically 90 minutes after the onset of sleep, and follows a period of deep, dreamless sleep characterized by Delta waves (0.5 – 3.5Hz). For lucid dreaming to occur, there must also be an admixture of Alpha waves, representing a state of relaxed wakefulness. The best producers of brainwave entrainment recordings understand these frequencies and combine the desired frequencies in a precisely timed sequence.
To experience this for yourself, and to try some free samples, visit this website. Lucid dreaming is arguably the greatest adventure you can have; brainwave entrainment levels the playing field and gives you a chance to enjoy what a lucky few have always known.
Have you ever been faced by a seemingly intractable problem – a puzzle that no amount of thinking can resolve? Some of history’s most famous creative minds in all fields of human endeavor have often found solutions in their inner wellspring of imagination, the dream state. For them, dreaming was anything but a waste of time, a mere processing of daily experiences by a mental maintenance department. On the contrary, dreaming exposed them to the ultimate in intelligence and inventiveness, tapping into the deep wisdom of the subconscious mind. And this fabulous resource is available to us all, ready to help us just as much as it helped Thomas Edison, Niels Bohr, and William Wordsworth.
Why Are Dreams So Creative?
Dreaming is associated with Rapid-Eye Movement (R.E.M.) sleep and a brainwave frequency in the Theta range, between 3.5 and 7 Hertz. The Reticular Activating System of the brainstem essentially paralyzes the body by isolating the brain from the muscles, ensuring that no harm will come to the body through attempts to implement the activities of our dreams. This is important, because in the dream state the mind no longer needs to concern itself with the task of managing a body in an enormously complex and dangerous physical world. It need not worry about the humdrum conventions of physical laws or of human society. In short, the mind is finally free.
Can We Harness the Creativity of Dreams to Solve Problems?
Many of the historical examples of dreams as problem-solvers appear to involve good fortune on the part of the dreamer, and leave the dreamer wondering where the solution came from. Dr. Otto Loewi, who shared the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1936, could never explain the dream he had in 1920 that led him to conceive a new test based on an experiment he had discarded 17 years earlier. Edison is particularly noteworthy, however, because he deliberately exploited the creative power of dreams by practicing writing down ideas immediately after waking from multiple short naps.
A more recent approach is known as lucid dreaming, in which the dreamer is to some extent consciously aware during the dream state; i.e., knows he is dreaming and, potentially, influences the course of the dream. Practitioners of this art look forward to their nightly sleep, relishing the prospect of great new adventures unencumbered by the limitations of time and space. A lucid dreamer on a mission to solve a problem enjoys an unfair advantage over the rest of us! Fortunately, very few people know about lucid dreaming, and fewer still have been able to master the skill.
Is There An Easy Way to Lucid Dream?
Remembering that the dream state is associated with particular brainwave patterns, we can take advantage of that fact with a new technology known as brainwave entrainment. This easy-to-use technology gives us a level of control over our minds that Edison could only, ahem, dream of. Find out more – and get some really good free samples – at this website.
Mental rehearsal has been proven to enhance the effectiveness of actual practice and acquired skills. Whether you’re an athlete getting ready for that big game, an artist preparing for a concert, a businessman anticipating an important meeting, or a valedictorian about to give a commencement speech, having a successful experience in your mind beforehand greatly increases your chances of a positive outcome. And perhaps the best way to rehearse mentally – but the least explored – is the art of lucid dreaming.
The Ultimate Mental Rehearsal
Sports psychologists have been telling their clients about mental rehearsal for a long time now. How many times have golf commentators on television told us that the player going through his pre-shot routine on the 12th tee at Augusta National is visualizing a successful outcome – seeing himself executing a smooth swing, finishing in balance, striking the ball cleanly and sending it sailing over the water hazard to a safe spot on the green, leaving himself a makeable, uphill putt for birdie? Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? But anyone who has played golf, never mind golf under extreme pressure, knows how incredibly difficult it is. Top pros are looking for any edge they can get over their competition, and they are obviously willing to pay for their psychologists’ advice.
Mental practice can be “perfect practice,” boosting confidence and reducing stress better than a physical practice session containing many failures. But when combined with lucid dreaming, there is much more to it. Lucid dreaming describes the ability to become consciously aware in the dream state – aware that you are in fact dreaming and aware that you can actually influence the course of your dreams. Why is this so important to mental rehearsal? Because, as explained by Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University, the activity of the brain during a dreamed event is identical to its activity during the actual event. The neuronal pathways and connections that one needs for actual performance can therefore be developed during dreams. This adds an entirely new dimension to the process of skill acquisition.
So How Can You Mentally Rehearse in Your Dreams?
Ironically, lucid dreaming is itself a skill that you have to acquire through practice, and a key part of that learning process is repeatedly telling yourself that you can become consciously aware while still dreaming – a kind of mental practice to assist mental actions! For most people, this is not a simple process, and it is understandable that very few persist long enough to succeed.
Fortunately, a relatively new and very accessible technology called brainwave entrainment makes lucid dreaming for mental rehearsal much, much easier. If you have a way to play digital soundtracks, you can try this for yourself at The Unexplainable Store, which offers free samples of high quality.
Have you ever woken up screaming in terror after a nightmare that was so vivid you literally feared for your life – or perhaps the life of someone you love? We all have this experience from time to time, but if you’re unfortunate enough to experience frequent nightmares, this is no laughing matter. What you need is some way to realize that what you fear is not real because you are only dreaming. This awareness is the essence of lucid dreaming – the best way to overcome nightmares.
Why Do We Have Nightmares?
We are more apt to suffer from nightmares during periods of stress, sickness, relationship problems, or traumatic events. Alcohol and certain drugs or medications can exacerbate these tendencies as they tend to suppress R.E.M. sleep – the phase of sleep where dreaming occurs. If you go to sleep under the influence, you may sleep soundly for some time, but the mind will not be able to dream. Once the effect of the substance wears off and R.E.M. sleep can resume, the mind needs to catch up on its dreaming, and this often results in more intense experiences. If those dreams are nightmares – look out!
The key to understanding nightmares, however, is to understand your fears. Shining the light of conscious awareness on these irrational fears can make them melt away. The benefits will be felt not just in the dream state, but also in your waking, everyday life. The Australian Aborigines believe that the dream state connects us to the “Dreamtime” from which all life came, and attach great importance to resolving issues while dreaming. But whatever your worldview, lucid dreaming can reduce your anxiety levels tremendously.
Using Lucid Dreaming to Overcome Nightmares
The following examples are supplied by perhaps the foremost researcher on lucid dreaming, Stephen LaBerge, in his 1990 book with H. Rheingold, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Their research suggests that it is healthier to adopt a conciliatory attitude toward hostile dream figures, rather than a ‘confront and conquer’ attitude.
If being pursued, turn to face your pursuer. If it doesn’t disappear altogether, start a dialog with it.
If attacked, show readiness to defend yourself but attempt a dialog. Or, feel love within yourself and attempt to extend this to your attacker.
If falling, relax and allow yourself to land. You are not going to die: it’s a dream! Or, convert falling into flying and then go somewhere interesting. (This idea actually came from the Senoi people of Malaysia.)
If paralyzed, remember that you are only dreaming and adopt an attitude of curiosity toward the experience. Don’t panic!
If unprepared for a test, you could simply walk out of the exam room and avoid the situation altogether. Or, have fun coming up with creative answers to questions.
If naked in public, remember that modesty is a social convention. In dreams, anything goes. So allow everyone else to get naked, too! (It’s okay if this becomes arousing!) Who cares what happens in the privacy of your own dream?
Of course, all of these possibilities depend on your ability to realize that you are dreaming and to exert a certain amount of control over the process. So how exactly do we do that?
Fortunately, a relatively new and inexpensive auditory technology known as brainwave entrainment offers a wonderfully simple way to enhance your ability to lucid dream. If you’d like to tame the fears that ruin your sleep, and convert your nightmares into exciting adventures instead, see for yourself at this website.
Have you ever had a really great dream that suddenly veered off in the wrong direction? One minute you were flying with the dragons of Avatar, in a thrilling fantasy adventure, the next you were taking a test in school without having studied, feeling unprepared and afraid. That disappointment stays with you all day, doesn’t it? Well, what if you could actually control the direction of your dreams? There would be no more such disappointments! This is the reward held out to us by the art of lucid dreaming.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Quite simply, lucid dreaming is the ability to retain conscious awareness and control while in the dream state. You know you are dreaming, and instead of being a passenger taken for a ride, you can elect to take a more active role and decide where that ride is going to take you. Lucid dreaming was first described by Frederik van Eeden in A Study of Dreams (1913), but was not fully accepted by the scientific community until Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University published Lucid Dreaming in 1986.
The Ultimate in Adventure and Fantasy
The movie Avatar was a tour de force of cinematic creativity, but it pales in comparison to the literally infinite creativity of the human mind in the dream state. We all know this to be true, and have had countless personal experiences that prove it. Now imagine being able to harness that staggering power any way you want: to fly like an eagle, to perform like a professional sports star, to have, ahem, the most satisfying romantic encounters you could ever conceive of. There is absolutely no limit to what you can do or experience when lucid dreaming.
So How Do I Lucid Dream?
Until recently, the answer to that question was: “not easily.” Careful cultivation of mental skills, such as the recognition of “markers” within dreams that trigger greater awareness while dreaming, has been coupled with “dream machines” that expose the sleeper to certain flashes of light or sounds, intended to remind them of their intention to become lucid. It sounds tricky, and it is.
But now there is a better way – an easier, quicker, cheaper way. Lucid dreaming can now be achieved much more readily thanks to the control of brainwaves that has been made possible by the audio technology of brainwave entrainment. If you’re ready for the ultimate in fantasy and adventure, and you don’t mind getting really good free samples, visit The Unexplainable Store. It’s the most exciting journey you’ll ever take!