Configuring the smart timer
To configure the smart timer you need a rough guess of when your REM periods occur
I estimate REM happens before the dream ends in awakening. So if I have a history of dream events as the one shown above, I can try to guess that REM happens before the dream event is entered. Here’s what my history page may look like:
Here the default REM episodes are shown as broken red line. It aligns with the sample hypnogram. The goal is to analyze the data and move the red line forward, backward or extend it to occur roughly before the dream events. The default guess may be good for some people, mediocre for others and completely off for yet another group of people. This is why it has to be adjusted.
Adjusting REM episodes
The segments of the red line are controlled through Menu>Preferences>REM Prediction>Configure
Here’s what default settings look like (corresponding to the red line segments above):
For clarity purposes, I refer to the segments of the red line by numbers from 1 to 8, where 1 is the shortest leftmost segment. It is displayed at the top of the Smart Timer Activity list.
The goal here is to adjust the list to suit your REM periods. The list uses absolute time since the app was put in detection mode, but only for the first event. Here’s an example:
- I go to sleep at T=1:00, the app starts smart timer with T+0:00
- The first REM episode is set to be expected at T+1:30. In my example the app will look for it at 2:30 real time.
- The episode duration is 10 minutes. After 10 minutes the app will wait to confirm the time the event took place.
- If I interact with the device at T+1:40 or 2:40AM real time, the app will adjust subsequent episodes by 10 minutes backward, keeping the same spacing between events. So now the REM Event at T+2:48 will occur at T+1:00+0:10+2:48 = 3:58 to account for the earlier event taking place later than expected.
- All subsequent REM events depend on the timing of the previous event, so it is best to record dreams using the “Dream” gesture immidiately upon awakening.
This may be a bit confusing, please do not hesitate to ask for clarifications and I will improve this description with your questions!
Now, knowing this I”m ready to configure my smart timer from the default settings. I once again look at the history of events from past nights:
- I notice that the line segment 1 is followed by some activity and has a dream at about T+1:40 or 100 minutes. I decide to make the first REM event start at 100 minutes and last for 15 minutes. I make a note of that guess and proceed to analyze the next event.
- The event 2 seems to be right on target, so I leave it as is: T+2:48 or 168 minutes and 24 minutes in duration
- Event 3 seems a bit too early – there are 2 dreams following it, so I add 5 minutes to its start time and increase the duration to 13 minutes by using the the context menu
- Event 4 seems to be positioned well, I adjust it slightly: +2 minutes to start and -7 minutes to duration
- The event 5 seems a bit too soon – there are 3 dreams following it, so I add +10 minutes to its start time, making it start at T+5:50 and also reduce its duration to 33 minutes
- Event 6 has 3 dreams before it, so I decide to make it start sooner, subtracting 10 minutes from its start time. Instead of T+7:00 I make it start at 6:50 and also reduce its duration by 6 minutes to 34 minutes
- Event 7 also has 3 dreams before it, so I decide to subtract 25 minutes from its start time. Instead of T+8:20, I make it start at T+7:55 and also reduce its duration by 8 minutes
- I make event 8 start at T+9:25 and last for 40 minutes. There’s not enough data in this history to adjust this event.
- I make event 9 start at T+11:00 and last for 40 minutes. There’s not enough data in this history to adjust this event.
Now I go back to the Menu>Preferences>REM Prediction>Configure, and make the changes as I have noted:To change the event start times, I touch the event on the list and use the time picker spinner to set the new start time:
Smart Timer just got smarter in version 0.7, and as a result there’s a need to hold a whole bunch of options. They are available through a context menu, which is brought up by touching and holding the REM Event which you want to modify.
Context menu options:
- Set event duration – rough estimate of the length of REM episode
- Reminder timing – controls when the reminder is delivered (Once before the event, after movement during the event or Once after the event).
- Pick reminder – this allows you to select voice reminder to play or text to vibrate
- Test current reminder – check if the current voice reminder is the file that you want and adjust its volume. For vibrate reminders, see how long your message vibrates for.
- Switch to vibrate/voice reminder – this option flips between voice and vibrate reminders for the current REM Event
- Activate/deactivate event. An inactive event does not play any reminders, but is still counted for the estimation of subsequent events
- Delete event – deletes the REM event completely. The list has to be saved for change to take place
REM Events and Reminders (version 0.7)
Each REM event may have a different voice or vibrate reminder associated with it. The default reminder is “lucid.mp3” from the “Recordings” folder.
Once my changes are made, I touch the “Save Events” button. The app informs me that the events have been saved to the /mnt/sdcard/Application Data/Lucid Dreaming App/SmartTimerConfig.txt.gzip . I can manually create a copy of this file in another location to be able to restore my REM event settings if I need to re-install the app, or I may send it over to a friend if it proves to be WILDly successful 🙂
Now as I go back to the “View History” activity, I see that my changes have taken effect – the red lines are better aligned with the dreams(triangles), and best of all, they are leading the reported dreams by about 10 minutes.
This adjustment process may take a few tries, it certainly took me a few guesses to see when the REM events should start and how long they should last. To help with this process, above the graph you can see colorful Xs. Each one corresponds to a would-be reminder if current settings were active for that night. Here I see that I would be getting between 6 and 8 reminders through the night. The most important question is – will the reminder play before the dream is reported? This is a simulation on real data, so a reminder played before the dream reported here would likely be played before the real dream as well!Here, most reminders occur before dreams!
There are 2 more options available for me here:
- Minimum Time Between Reminders. Smart timer may detect predict REM multiple times over the course of an REM event. This may result in many opportunities to play a reminder. To limit the number of reminders, I added a 15 minute interval between reminders. This is configurable in Menu>Preferences>REM Prediction>Minimum Time Between Reminders. You can have the app spew reminders like a machine gun or let you enjoy your dreams in peace. The choice is yours!
- REM prediction activity threshold. The app looks for rising level of activity during REM to play the reminder. The app adds up all activity counts from the start of REM and upon reaching the threshold it plays the reminder, delayed by 2-3 minutes. If the threshold is not reached, the app plays the reminder at the end of the REM event. Setting the threshold to less means the reminder may be played closer to the start of the REM event. Setting it to more means it will be played later or at the end of the event.
Putting it all together
Here’s the result of the smart timer in action. Teal triangles are dreams, purple Xs are reminders. Notice how close the Xs are to the reported dreams! On 3 occasions the reminder woke me up from a dream or a dream like state. On one occasion I did not report the event and attempted to re-enter the dream. I’ve experienced ~6 dreams through this night, including 1 high awareness semi-lucid dream, 1 DILD which I reentered once.
Compare the reminders produced by the smart timer(Above) to the reminders produced by the default method of REM detection (below). The smart timer produces reminders a lot closer to the reported dream. In fact, the dreams are reported because of the reminder waking me up from a dream!