Sweet dreams are made of this – electric currents pumped directly into your brain, according to scientists.
Researchers in Germany have developed a way of enabling sleepers to control their dreams by applying electric currents to the brain which prompts lucid dreams, involving a state of heightened awareness.
This allows the sleeper to recognise they are dreaming and influence what happens next. A similar concept was explored in the hit movie 'Inception', starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
However, unlike the film, the study only involved sleepers controlling their own dreams.
In ordinary dreams, which occur during the rapid-eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, the dreamer's conscious state usually has no access to past memories or anticipated events in the future.
In lucid dreaming, extra cognitive functions are involved such as self-awareness and free will.
This combination of brain activity may enable the dreamer to voluntarily control the dream plot.
People who have lucid dreams talk of "waking up" within a dream and being able, for instance, to fly at will or manipulate the world around them.
Writing in the journal 'Nature Neuroscience', the team, led by Dr Ursula Voss, from the JW Goethe University in Germany, speculated on the use of lucid dreams to help victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lucid dreams could be induced using this technique and the dreamer could then be coached to alter the nightmare into a less traumatic experience. (© Daily Telegraph, London)