To gain control of dreams, lucid dreamers tap into the vivid mental state between wakefulness and REM sleep called hypnagogia. Talk to any practitioner or troll any Reddit forum for a few minutes and you’ll come away with a handful of exercises, supplements and equipment meant to induce the experience. But one everyday behavior may be a springboard into the lucid dreaming world. According to a new Australian study, people who hit snooze slip into the trippy mental purgatory more often.
Without any consciousness-hacking tricks or drugs, about 20 percent of sleepers are able to lucid dream and “pilot their own fantasies.” The rest of us need to take measures to get there. Some people take Galantamine (prescribed in the U.S. for Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment). Others swear by detailed awareness-focused methods developed by committed lucid dreamers. But, we may also unknowingly engage in other habits, such as hitting snooze, that are, in fact, conducive to gaining dream control.
For the study, per the British Psychological Society blog Research Digest, two researchers at Swansea University surveyed 84 people, age 18 to 75, who belonged to lucid dreaming Facebook groups. After participants answered questions about their lucid dreams and related sleep habits, researchers discerned a link between the number of times they hit the snooze button and the frequency of their lucid dreams. The connection persisted after researchers took into account factors that could influence lucid dreaming, such as nighttime awakenings and recollection of dreams.
Even more fascinating? Not only did heavy reliance on the snooze button correspond to more lucid dreams — any use of snooze made a difference. People who avoided snooze altogether reported considerably fewer lucid dreams than people who hit their alarms for even one five-minute extension.
While the findings merely establish a link between two phenomena, and do not offer causal clarity, it’s possible that, for some undetermined reason, lucid dreamers love to hit snooze. Still, study authors do offer a theoretical explanation for the connection: When people continually press snooze, the alarm-sounds function to interrupt their sleep, making it more likely they’ll “dip straight back into a light REM sleep,” where most lucid dreaming takes place.
In fact, as Research Digest points out, repeatedly slapping snooze resembles an established method of prompting lucid dreams, called “Wake-Back-To-Bed,” which involves scheduling an alarm to go off an hour before your usual waking time and then deliberately focusing on remaining lucid while falling back to sleep.
So, if anyone bugs you about hitting the snooze button, explain that you're preparing to control your dreams, not merely procrastinating.