Here’s a little story for you: back when I was in college (and thanks to some prompting from a good friend) I got mildly into Oneirology, AKA the study of dreams. No, I wasn’t doing brain surgery or anything, in fact, quite the opposite (this was college, you fill in the blanks). Suffice to say, I became very intrigued by the idea of lucid dreaming: being “awake” in a dream and therefore able to control it. I even kept an “Oneironaut Journal” and practiced techniques believed to increase the frequency, duration and controllability of one’s lucid dreams. Besides journaling about my dreams, my regimen included waking up throughout the night in 10-minute intervals, and pinching myself throughout the day as a reminder of consciousness. Some have found that consistently performing this routine trains your brain to habitually ask, “Am I awake?” Once ingrained, your brain will theoretically begin to ask that same question while asleep. The hope is that one fateful day, you will hear yourself answer, “No, I’m not,” and thus begin to consciously explore your dream world to your heart’s content.
Needless to say, the motivation to sustain this unpleasant routine for any length of time evaded me. A college girl needs her sleep, am I right? Sure, thoughts of scampering (or soaring, or pogo-sticking—you name it!) willy-nilly through my own dreamscape, filled with flying dogs, floating waterfalls and at least seven different versions of Johnny Depp, were enough to keep me going for a while. But eventually I gave in to my previous regimen: 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, minus the pinching. I did have one or two lucid dreams, however, and they were great. But now on to my point:
A couple of NYC-based inventors claim to have taken the grunt work out of lucid dreaming with their new product, the Remee Sleep Mask. Outfitted with six red LED lights, the mask detects when its user has entered the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep stage, when dreams are most common. Then, the flexible LED lights inside the mask ignite in a predetermined pattern and at a brightness level that will not wake the user. The lights are said to trigger the wearer’s brain into recognizing s/he is dreaming. Inventors Duncan Frazier and Steve McGuigan have already received over 7,000 pre-orders for the Remee Sleep Mask, which costs $95. Looks like college kids aren’t the only ones to dream big, after all. And though my college years are behind me (sigh), I must admit, I’m pretty tempted to try out one of these masks. My birthday’s coming up…just sayin’.