Soundscape dreamcatcher

Tuesday 10th April 2012

Is it possible to influence people as they sleep and give them their perfect dream? Today sees the launch of a new study that uses a specially designed iPhone app in an attempt to improve the dreams of millions of people around the world. If successful, the study will allow people to create their perfect dream and so wake up feeling especially happy and refreshed. 

This study was launched at the Edinburgh International Science Festival by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman.


Soundscapes: Courtesy and and Richard Wiseman  from the University of Hertfordshire.

Wiseman has teamed-up with app developers YUZA  to create 'Dream:ON' - an app that monitors a person as they sleep and plays a carefully crafted 'soundscape' when they dream.

Soundscape has been carefully designed to evoke a pleasant scenario, such a walk in the woods, or lying on a beach, and Wiseman (right) hopes that these sounds will influence people's dreams.  At the end of the dream the app sounds a gentle alarm and prompts the person to submit a description of their dream into a database known as 'The Dream Catcher'.  

Users of Dream:ON are also encouraged to share their dreams via Facebook and Twitter.

 Each night Wiseman will collect thousands of dream reports and use the information to discover whether it is possible to give the world sweet dreams.

"The app is free and we want as many people as possible to participate," noted Wiseman. "I have conducted many mass participation experiments in the past, but this is by far the most ambitious and exciting."

As part of the launch, Wiseman has carried out a national survey into dreaming.

 The results demonstrate the need for sweeter dreams, with 21% of respondents reporting that they have trouble sleeping and 15% suffering from unpleasant dreams (see the 'UK dream map').  

"Getting a good night's sleep and having pleasant dreams boosts people's productivity, and is essential for their psychological and physical well-being. Despite this, we know very little about how to influence dreams - this experiment aims to change that" commented Wiseman.

The exact percentage of people in each region reporting pleasant dreams are as follows

East Midlands                            24

Scotland                                      25

North East                                  28

North West                                 29

Yorkshire & Humber               29
Wales                                          29

South East                                 30

South West                                30

London                                        32

East of England                        33

West Midlands                          34

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