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Record an effective voice reminder

How sound influences you:

Please watch this short video to get a sense of how sound may affect you. Apparently speech is not the best way, and the bandwidth to process speech in a dream may be too limited to comprehend speech.

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2ZmZww/www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_the_4_ways_sound_affects_us.html/

The Lucid Dreaming App can use a variety of cues to help you become lucid in your dreams. Current cues are:

  • Audio
  • Vibration
  • Light (as of Version 0.7.1)

Some sample audio reminders:

 

 

 

Reminder types

  • Audio reminder – any sound file in supported format (Mp3, Wav, etc). It is played through the phone’s speaker.

Adding a voice reminder for a Smart Timer event

record one. All audio reminders use the same volume, which may be set while a reminder is being played.

Adding a vibration reminder for Smart Timer event.

Vibration reminders use Morse code, which may get very annoying if the reminder is too long. The default text “morse code” takes about 10 seconds to vibrate. Using longer text obviously makes the vibration last longer, for example “this is a very long reminder” would take over 30 seconds to vibrate. Additionally, you may set how long each “dot” of Morse code lasts. The default is 120 milliseconds, which is pretty fast. By increasing the dot duration, you increase the overall intensity of vibration.

I use a very short vibration (5 seconds or so) before playing a voice reminder in hopes of awakening my mind a bit to receive the message.

  • (New in V0.7.1) – Flashing light strobe, it uses 2 pictures of lightning, one dark, one bright. The app rapidly switches between two, producing flashes of light. This feature is also using Morse code timing. This you get to pick the text to flash, and how quickly it is being flashed. This can be used by itself or added to other reminders.

Lightning photoshopped to be bright. Photo courtesy of Marlin Harms

The strobe reminder is a brand new feature, inspired by the old school lucid dreaming masks, like NovaDreamer and REM Dreamer. These masks flash light cues directly into user’s eyes when REM is detected. Since the Lucid Dreaming App only predicts REM, the timing of the light flashing may be off. Also, seeing this reminder requires you to sleep facing the device.

 

Using Reminders

The lucid dreaming app V0.7 has two main modes of operation: Smart Timer and WILDTimer. Smart Timer needs to be configured based on when you expect your REM episodes to be. WILD Timer is a set of regular timers which you may schedule or cancel at any time.

Knowing how to configure these timers, you may find a matching reminder. For example if you are using a WILD timer for WILD induction, you will want it to gently keep you awake over a course of a few dozen minutes. WILD Timer is created by drawing a “WILD” gesture  – a PacMan with mouth pointing up :). Personally, I doze off after about 20 minutes of WILD induction attempt, so that would be a good time to increase the vibration duration or intensity. Here’s what my WILD timer may look like:

  • Vibrate “morse code” (over 10 seconds) at 5 minute mark
  • Vibrate “morse code” (over 10 seconds) at 12 minute mark
  • Vibrate “morse code wild” (over 15 seconds) at 19 minute mark
  • Vibrate “wild” at 22 minute mark
  • Vibrate “wild” at 25 minute mark + play a short reminder “enter WILD”
  • Vibrate “wild” at 28 minute mark

Sample WILD Timer (Menu>Preferences>Configure WILD Timers

In Smart Timer mode, a few (4-8 reminders) are played out over the course of the night. You need to choose when your REM sleep episodes are, and configure a reminder to be played during that episode. For Smart Timer reminders, you have the following options:

  • Play reminder at event start (for WILD or WBTB lucid dream induction). This plays the reminder at minute 1 or 2 of the REM event. These techniques require you to wake up before REM to be actively executed during REM. A vibrate reminder of ~15 seconds is perfect for this
  • Play reminder after movement (for DILD or DEILD). This plays the reminder after a certain level of activity has been reached. For DILD, sound messages and light cues may be used, while for DEILD, you want to be awakened from the dream rapidly (a short vibrate sequence) to reenter the dream.
  • Play reminder on sound (coming in future releases). This will play a reminder when a sound spike has been detected (shuffling covers, snoring, talking in your sleep, etc). I have high hopes for this method as a DILD inducer with light or sound
  • Play reminder at event end (for Dream Recall). If you have trouble recalling dreams, setting up a reminder/vibrate reminder at the end of suspected REM may wake you up, so you may recall dreams more easily.

Based on this, my Smart timer config may look like this (times are relative to time in bed):

  • REM Event at 100 minutes (1:40) for 10 minutes, No reminders
  • REM Event at 177 minutes (2:57) for 30 minutes, play sound reminder (10 seconds) and light reminder (32 seconds) after movement
  • REM Event at 225 minutes (3:45) for 10 minutes, Light reminder (32 seconds) on event start
  • REM Event at 272 minutes (4:32) for 29 minutes, Vibrate reminder (5 seconds), light reminder (55 seconds), sound reminder (60 sec) after movement
  • REM Event at 350 minutes (5:50) for 33 minutes, Vibrate reminder for 15 seconds, Voice reminder for 10 seconds at event start (for WILD attempt)
  • REM Event at 410 minutes (6:50) for 34 minutes, Vibrate reminder for 5 sec, Voice reminder for 60 sec, after movement
  • REM Event at 485 minutes (8:05) for 32 mintues, Voice reminder for 60 seconds after movement.

Together, this combination of timers is intended to increase my chances of passively becoming lucid, while having one active attempt (WILD/WBTB) at time in bed +5:50

Combining reminders.

As of app version 0.7.1, you will be able to combine multiple reminders and play them at the same time. The two extra cues (vibration sound and light) are intended to aid in awakening your brain enough to hear the primary cue. Plus the light reminder is completely silent!

 

Selecting a reminder.

To record a reminder, I use lite version of Hi-Q Mp3 recorder to record audio right from the app. The option to get/start this program may be found in preferences> set up sound reminders> get/start Mp3 recorder. Files recorded through that app are stored on SDCard/Recordings folder, and the Lucid Dreaming App expects to find recordings in that folder.

There are 2 modes of selecting the default reminder:

  • Using built-in selection uses a little dialog box that I built myself. It picks files from SDCard/Recordings
  • Using OI File Manager you may pick any file on your phone, including some ringtones (not .AAC)

Some people reported issues with selecting files, so I’m keeping both options available to you, one of them should work!

Additionally, you may select a different reminder for each Smart Timer event. The default reminder is added to new Smart Timer events automatically, and you may change it if you wish.

 

Recording Reminder Tips:

There are several considerations for making your reminder effective:

  • It must be quiet enough to not wake you up, but be heard and recognized. Your brain is finely attuned to whispering voices, use this to your advantage. Sounds at night are significantly louder. Something in the  “normal” voice during the day may shock you awake at night!
  • It must be short enough to prevent awakening or be tolerated if you are already awake.
  • Hearing my name jolts me awake like a cannon shot. I’ve observed this phenomenon on other people, where “Wake up, Wake up….” is ignored, even if said loudly, but a whisper of the person’s name also jolts them awake. Test it for yourself and find out.
  • Hearing a reminder in a voice of someone you know or who appears in your dreams frequently is more likely to work.
  • A rather obvious reminder choice is “You are dreaming, become lucid”, but you can add more subtlety to activate the rational part of your brain and trigger lucidity: “You are in bed asleep now, how can you be here… You are dreaming!”.
  • If you prefer the cannon shot type of reminder, try including a message for yourself to remain silent and reenter the dream. For example: “Alex! Remain still… Now reenter the dream”. Delivered in the middle of REM, this message should cause an awakening suitable for dream reentry or DEILD.

As of V0.7 you may use multiple reminders, so feel free to experiment! Right now I’m experimenting with a bird song MP3 for dream incubation/reentry. It is almost impossible to say when the song starts playing, it is so subtle and blends in so well! Check it out for yourself: park birdsong reminder 1 minute, you may also hear a subtle flute played in the background

The first night effect

Sleep labs often compensate for the “first night” effect – sleeping in an unfamiliar setting is likely to affect the sleep lab  readings. It is very likely that you will wander about the effectiveness of the app during the first few days. This is normal. Try to take it slow and not shock your brain with heavy metal during the first few nights, as it will take you some time to sleep with the app running.

Overall effectiveness

Over a period of 3 months (March -May) I’ve been experimenting with audio reminders and have been looking for ways to deliver audio closer to REM sleep. Here are my discoveries from over 200 reminders played

  • Playing sound at random raises awareness, but does not seem to produce lucidity
  • Sound is less recognized in deep states of sleep, words may appear garbled.
  • My name jolts me awake
  • Precise timing is needed to deliver the reminder, especially if it is short

The good news is that my lucidity is up by 400% since before creating the app, spontaneous dream control is also on the rise.  I’m up from 1 lucid dream per month to 4+. The bad news is that better timing is required to deliver the reminder. Then again, on most nights I go to bed very late, after many hours of programming and with a development version of the app. I’m looking for more and better ways of REM detection, as well as experiment with additional cues. If it takes a dry EEG sensor (like Zeo alarm clock) to accurately detect REM, I will make it happen.

Thank you for your support in patience, lets make Lucid Dreaming App work!

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