Ever driven a long distance and been shocked to arrive at your destination with no memory of the trip itself? Turns out a wandering mind is nothing to worry about, and that daydreaming may, in fact, be linked to a brain mechanism that spares you from focusing on the daily grind.
A new study sheds further light on the little-known workings of the brain’s default mode network (DMN), a group of interconnected brain regions believed to be responsible for daydreaming and mind wandering. Its results provide compelling evidence that, in addition to helping spur “eureka” moments in well-known daydreamers from Einstein to Archimedes, the DMN plays an integral role in our ability to perform tasks on autopilot, allowing us to guess likely outcomes ahead of time, and thus devote fewer mental resources to mundane tasks.
Have you ever consciously changed the course of a dream? If so, then you are one of the 55 percent of people who have experienced a lucid dream. Lucid dreaming is rare. Only about 23 percent of individuals have a lucid dream once a month or more. Some of the benefits of lucid dreaming include a significant decrease in sleep deprivation. But they may also be beneficial for healing trauma, controlling unhealthy behavior and dealing with nightmares.
For the first time, techniques by Dr. Denholm Aspy, a visiting professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide in Australia, have been independently verified to induce lucid dreaming. During his week-long study on 169 participants, a record-breaking 53 percent of participants had lucid dreams, with 17 percent successful each night.