Sleep Invaders

Woman falling in purple haze.

Are your dreams out of this world?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Fighting goblins in a big castle? With salad tongs? Was Elton John there, too?! Ahh, what a dream! I’d tell you all about it — if only I could remember!  But what if we could COMMUNICATE with dreamers?! 

Karen Konkoly from Northwestern University and an international team slipped behind the veil of sleep! 

Most of their thirty-six volunteers had experienced lucid dreaming — a state where people KNOW they are dreaming. The team asked the sleeping beauties simple math and yes-or-no questions. What’s eight minus six? Do you like chocolate? 

During the experiments, the subjects’ brain activity, eye movements, and facial expressions were monitored.

Results? Almost 40% of participants RESPONDED with facial expressions while dreaming! According to the researchers, 18% even managed to answer a math problem correctly by moving their eyes!

Researchers hope that this finding can help us understand and remember our dreams. 

So, how about fighting the goblins AND acing that math test in your sleep?! That dream soooo sweet!

Reference: Konkoly, K., Appel, K., Chabani, E., Mironov, A. Y., Mangiaruga, A., Gott, J., Mallett, R., Caughran, B., Witkowski, S., Whitmore, N., Berent, J., Weber, F., Pipa, G., Türker, B., Maranci, J. B., Sinin, A., Dorokhov, V., Arnulf, I., Oudiette, D., . . . Paller, K. (2020). Real-Time Dialogue between Experimenters and Dreamers During rem Sleep. SSRN Electronic Journal, 1–11.