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Sleep - The Third Shift?

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J. Sep 11, 2020
Many of the great ideas were conceived during sleep. Paul McCartney´s "Yesterday", Rolling Stones´"I Can´t Get No Satisfaction", Google, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Terminator, The Model of the Atom, the Theory of Relativity, the Periodic Table of Elements are just some of them. People like to call it "sleep-storming".

But is that all? Just random creative bursts? Is there more that we can do while sleeping?

Imagine the world where you go on a beach and play with your family and friends during the day and work during the night – sleeping!

Sleep is defined as the state of body and mind that occurs naturally and periodically. It is well defined by a set of characteristics, such as inhibited motor and sensory functions. But the main interest of scientists from the ancient age was the specific brain activity during sleep that causes dreaming .

Dreams were described and interpreted in various ways. People even tried and partially succeeded to influence dreams by pre-sleep routines, auditory stimuli, etc. . But the closest ones to really benefit from the dreams are those who are aware that they are dreaming – the lucid dreamers. A team of German researchers recently found the exact centers of the brain that become active when we become aware of the dreaming .

Although we still have a lot to learn, busy and hard-working life on the one side, and the accelerated technological progress (smartwatches, bracelets, and mobile phones following our sleep habits) on the other, can soon result in fast development and occurrence of new sleep activities.

Could we teach ourselves to work while sleeping? Could we brainstorm and solve problems easier when there is no disturbance of other people or our own motor/sensory functions? How much would the sleep working salary be?

What do you think? How could it affect our lives? Would you be okay with that?




Creative contributions

Controlling sleep using a Dormio device

J. Dec 15, 2020
Scientists developed a device, called Dormio , that a person holds while sleeping and it measures skin conductance, muscle tone, and heart rate. That way, they can track sleep onset, or more specifically, when the state of hypnagogia begins. Hypnagogia is a state at the beginning of sleep when people see dreamlike visions/hallucinations. When the mentioned state starts, it signals to an app or software to play prepared audio content and record the person´s answers. The goal was to affect people´s dreams using voice inputs in a state of hypnagogia, just before falling asleep.

Results were astonishing. People talked to the setup very easily about what they could see and it was often heavily influenced by the voice input. People were told to think of a term and participants built a dream around it.

This smart device could have an incredible impact on sleep research, because, as Haar Horowitz, a research assistant in the Fluid Interfaces research group at MIT’s Media Lab says, "you can’t do controlled experimentation on dreams without an ability to control dreams.”



Channeling the theta waves

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Sep 11, 2020
The first thing that came to my mind was Dexter's (the cartoon) new invention that allows him to study while he is sleeping (season 1, episode 9c, https://www.metacritic.com/tv/dexters-laboratory/season-1/episode-28-the-big-cheese). I recently wrote a suggestion for another session (https://brainstorming.com/sessions/how-do-you-jump-start-creativity-and-get-good-ideas-flowing/98) regarding sensory deprivation. I think sensory deprivation is useful here, too. In short, sensory deprivation is cutting off the inputs to all your senses. The best way to perform sensory deprivation is by using a sensory deprivation flotation tank. In the flotation tank, the brain generates theta waves, the ones that the brain usually generates during dreams. The theta waves initiate learning and intuition. Probably, practice using the flotation tank can help one channelize the theta waves (to achieve a desired thought process). Controlling these waves and thereby, your thoughts is the challenge here. Recently, a team of researchers suggested, based on their results from experiments on humans, that the formation of wakefulness-related dream content is associated with REM (Rapid Eye Movement) theta activity. [1] Another article suggested that now the next step would be to induce theta brain waves in sleeping subjects and see if this induces dreams about their recent experiences. [2] I think this is the very basis of the idea that you have suggested. Also, although it requires immense practice to master, meditation may help achieve theta waves at will (without losing consciousness). References: 1. Eichenlaub J-B, van Rijn E, Gaskell MG, Lewis PA, Maby E, Malinowski JE, et al. Incorporation of recent waking-life experiences in dreams correlates with frontal theta activity in REM sleep. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci [Internet]. 2018 Jun 1;13(6):637–47. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/13/6/637/5032636 2. https://www.sciencealert.com/theta-brainwaves-rem-sleep-associated-recent-waking-memories-emotion-processing
J.8 months ago
Hahaha, yes, Dexter was a genius ahead of his time. I am glad you mentioned your session because I read the contribution where you mention sensory deprivation, but I didn't connect. It perfectly describes the state we are in while sleeping (the REM phase). If you watched the movie "Get Out", you'll maybe remember that the hypnosis state looked quite the same. If it works on the same principles, could we use hypnosis to brainstorm better?
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni8 months ago
I think hypnosis could work but with some changes. What I know about hypnosis is that it needs to be induced in a person. When a hypnotist performs hypnosis, he controls the hypnotized mind. I don't know whether a hypnotist can enable a thought (not known to the hypnotist) in the hypnotized person. What we need here is self-hypnosis (https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/self-hypnosis.html) - the process of reaching that tranquil and "free" state yourself. The problems that then arise are is this state different from the state that one reaches after meditation or sensory deprivation? Is self-hypnosis another name for them or are these distinct states?
J.8 months ago
I am really not familiar with hypnosis, but from the amateur point of view, the state hypnosis put you in is like swimming on the surface of a sensory-deprivation-tank state. They all try hard (meditation, hypnosis and sensory deprivation), but sensory deprivation could be the closest to achieve not only the inner tranquil and free state but also the environmental independentness (I know it's not a word :D).

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