The first book to recognize the scientific potential of lucid dreams was Celia Green's 1968 study Lucid Dreams. Green analyzed the main characteristics of such dreams. She reviewed previously published literature on the subject, and incorporated new data from subjects of her own. She concluded that they were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams, and predicted that they would turn out to be associated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Green was also the first to link lucid dreams to the phenomenon of false awakenings.
In the early 1970s, Daniel Oldis of the University of South Dakota leveraged the scientific principle of external sensory incorporation in an attempt to influence dream content and evoke lucidity. Three psychological techniques were employed: subconscious suggestion using a tape played before and during sleep; associative signaling using a muffled bell alarm timed to go off during REM sleep; and classical conditioning using a REM detection circuit and a bright eye-light. The results indicated that lucid dreaming can be facilitated using external cues and psychological methods.
Philosopher Norman Malcolm's 1959 text Dreaming had argued against the possibility of checking the accuracy of dream reports. However, the realization that eye movements performed in dreams affected the dreamer's physical eyes provided a way to prove that actions agreed upon during waking life could be recalled and performed once lucid in a dream. The first evidence of this type was produced in the late 1970s by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne. A volunteer named Alan Worsley used eye movement to signal the onset of lucidity, which were recorded by a polysomnograph machine.
Hearne's results were not widely distributed. The first peer-reviewed article was published some years later by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University, who had independently developed a similar technique as part of his doctoral dissertation. During the 1980s, further scientific evidence to confirm the existence of lucid dreaming was produced as lucid dreamers were able to demonstrate to researchers that they were consciously aware of being in a dream state (again, primarily using eye movement signals). Additionally, techniques were developed which have been experimentally proven to enhance the likelihood of achieving this state. Research on techniques and effects of lucid dreaming continues at a number of universities and other centers, including LaBerge's Lucidity Institute.
During REM sleep the body paralyses itself as a protection mechanism in order to prevent the movements which occur in the dream from causing the physical body to move. However, it is possible for this mechanism to be triggered before, during, or after normal sleep while the brain awakens. This can lead to a state where a person is lying in bed and feels paralyzed. Hypnagogic hallucination may occur in this state, especially auditory ones. Effects of sleep paralysis include heaviness or inability to move the muscles, rushing or pulsating noises, and brief hypnogogic imagery. Experiencing sleep paralysis is a necessary part of WILD, in which dreamers essentially detach their "dream" body from the paralyzed one. Also see OBE or Out-Of-Body-Experience, opposing the scientific theory of these occurrences stating that the paralysis is actually an occurrence to one who is already "separated" from their physical body meaning that "physical action potentials" have no effect here but "mental actions" do - a hint given that those who are finding difficulty moving are using the wrong "mechanism".
An out-of-body experience (OBE or sometimes OOBE) is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body (autoscopy). About one in ten people think they have had an out-of-body experience at some time in their lives. Scientists are learning about the phenomenon.
OBEs induced from waking (with the intention of achieving Astral Projection) and lucid dreams induced from waking cover such similar ground that common misinterpretation of one as the other (or even equivalence) can be hypothesized.[unreliable source?] Realistic-seeming yet physically impossible impressions of flying, time-traveling or walking through the walls of an environment matching one's bedroom are equally hallmarks of either. (As those who have experienced them will attest,[who?] neither "feels" like ordinary dreams at all.) Their induction techniques are similar, and both are easier to perform at times typical for afternoon naps and late morning REM cycles.
In much of the references I have reviewed, even in relation to the more skeptical presentations? Every indication seems to suggest,that in relation to the above? Sleep Paralysis seems a consistent response in some percentage of individuals who attempt it. Sleep Paralysis is actually a very common experience through-out the world and the type of negative experiences? While there are variationsin the theme, all seems to be pretty much the same.
Edited by Virtual Particle, 29 July 2010 - 12:06 AM.