How To Get Good Sleep: Free Mobile 'Dream-Shaping' App Promises A Restful Night

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Despite of the health risks of keeping your mobile phone in your bedroom, there are mobile apps out there that are trying to help us get a good night's sleep.

The free, dream-shaping iPhone app monitors sleep patterns and plays carefully constructed sounds designed to evoke pleasant dreams - and the best time to use it might be when there is a full moon.

Results of a new mass-participation experiment show that the "Dream:ON" download really does influence dreaming, helping people to sleep peacefully and wake up happy and refreshed.

sleep

One unexpected finding was that a full moon appeared to bring on bizarre dreams in study participants.

A possible reason is that moonlight streaming through the bedroom curtains creates feelings of unease inherited from our prehistoric past, when predators were a constant threat.

Psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire, said: "People fall asleep later when there's a full moon, sleep about 20 minutes less, and spend less time in deep sleep.

"We know that poor sleep is associated with disturbing dreams."

Story continues below the slideshow:

8 Natural Ways To Get A Better Night's Sleep
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

For the two year dream control study, Prof Wiseman's team collected millions of dream reports from volunteers who downloaded the app more than 500,000 times.

The app works by using a motion detector to sense when a sleeper is dreaming and then playing a chosen "soundscape" that conjures up thoughts of a particular scene - for instance, a forest or the seaside.

"If someone chose the nature landscape then they were more likely to dream about greenery and flowers," said Prof Wiseman.

"In contrast, if they selected the beach soundscape then they were more likely to dream about the sun beating down on their skin.

See Also:

How Do The Sleeping Habits Of Men and Women Differ?

Why Does The Brain Remember Our Dreams?

"Having positive dreams helps people wake-up in a good mood, and boosts their productivity. We have now discovered a way of giving people sweet dreams, and this may also form the basis for a new type of therapy to help those suffering from certain psychological problems, such as depression."

People who are depressed dream about five times more than average, he said.

"One of the most effective ways of curing depression is to stop depressive dreaming, but you can't maintain that kind of therapy," Prof Wiseman added.

"Its possible we might be able to do stuff during the night that's useful during the day."

Check out the top 10 sleep tips:

Ten Top Sleep Tips
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

The full moon's link with dreams was also detected last year by neuroscientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland.

They too found that people dreams were especially strange around the time of the full moon.

"That's something we weren't looking for - it's completely bizarre," said Prof Wiseman.

The Swiss scientists theorised that sleep was disturbed by the full moon because of our evolutionary past.

LIKE HUFFPOST UK LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

The idea is that it summons up old fears of being ill-met by moonlight in an environment where we had to hide from predators.

Prof Wiseman pointed out that melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, is highly sensitive to light.

He was not convinced by the evolutionary theory but accepted that the effect was "probably psychological".

"It's one of those cases where you say let the data speak for itself," he said.

He describes the findings in more detail in his book Night School published by Pan Macmillan.

Around the Web

5 Sleep Apps To Help You Get More And Better Rest - Huffington Post

Sleep Genius: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock - Better than White Noise on ...

Omvana - Meditate, Sleep, Focus, Relax, Rest & Nap Better with ...

Kids Sleep Songs Free - Android Apps on Google Play

Sleep Mobile Applications - Webicina

University of Vienna app uses your phone for research while you sleep

SleepTracker | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United States)

Apps to Help You Sleep Better - Techlicious

Best Mobile Alarm App: Sleep Cycle - Lifehacker

5 apps to help you get a great night's sleep | ITworld