London: Scientists have come up with an app to let your create your perfect dream, by playing a 'soundscape' that seeps into the sleeping mind.
Users can choose from peaceful rural settings, busy street scenes, or even dramatic space adventures. Richard Wiseman, professor of psychology at Hertfordshire University, who helped develop the programme, believes it could be a boon for sleeping disorders or depression.
Wiseman plans to collect thousands of records from users of the app as part of a mass experiment for the Edinburgh International Science Festival to find out how easy it is to influence dreams.
The app, called Dream: ON, is free and can be downloaded by iPhone users from Tuesday. An Android version is planned for later in the year, the Daily Mail reports.
Before going to bed, the user selects the time they want to wake up and chooses their ideal dream scenario. They then put their phone face down on the mattress - ideally close to their head - and it uses a motion sensor to detect when the sleeper is dreaming.
During the night, we pass through cycles made up of three stages of sleep. During deep and light sleep, the first two stages, we are restless in bed.
But during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (dreamtime), the brain paralyses the body so we don't act out our dreams and harm ourselves. The app waits until the last period of REM sleep before the chosen waking time, then plays the soundscape.
Once this dreaming sleep is over, the app wakes up the user within a minute to increase the chances of them remembering the dream. They are invited to record their dream and submit a description into an online database.
Some of the soundscapes are designed to encourage 'lucid dreaming', where the sleeper is aware they are dreaming and can influence what happens. Soundscapes featuring the mimicked voices of celebrities, actors and even President Barack Obama are also planned.
First Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 19:42