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  • Writer's pictureDean Dwyer

Sweet dreams?

Have you ever heard of the term, “targeted dream incubation”? Chances are you have not. But let’s back up a little. Why do we dream? Nobody knows for sure. There are numerous theories, including:-

· It is a form of memory processing, aiding in the consolidation of learning and short-term memory to long-term memory storage;

· It is an extension of waking consciousness, reflecting the experiences of waking life;

· It is a means by which the mind works through difficult, complicated, unsettling thoughts, emotions and experiences to achieve psychological and emotional balance;

· It is the brain responding to biochemical changes and electrical impulses that occur during sleep;

· It is a form of consciousness that unites past, present and future in processing information from the first two and preparing for the third;

· It is a protective act by the brain to prepare itself to face threats, dangers and challenges.

Of course, dreams can be affected in different ways, particularly through medication. I remember during a period I was on a particular drug for migraine that I experienced very vivid dreams, full of action. It is very hard to get a restful sleep when one is fighting wars in dreams! Yet, some credit dreams with helping them achieve success in life. Paul McCartney famously credited the composition of The Beatles song “Yesterday” to a dream. Other artists, from the poet William Blake to the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, have claimed to rely on dreams for creative inspiration and guidance. The golfer Jack Nicklaus solved a nagging problem with his golf swing after sorting out the problem in a dream.

It is said that Thomas Edison used to sleep with a steel ball in his hand. As he relaxed and the ball fell to the floor, it would jolt him back to wakefulness. During these micronaps, Edison would never fully fall sleep, but he would experience the strange hallucinations and insights characteristic of hypnagogia (the transitional phase from wakefulness to sleep). Many believe this is the state in which you are best able to solve problems, gain guidance and experience inner peace.

Of course, we also know that God sometimes spoke to people in dreams. Examples are Joseph, son of Jacob (Genesis 37:5-10), Joseph, the husband of Mary (Matthew 2:12-22), Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15) and several others (Daniel 2:1; 7:1; Matthew 27:19). There is also a prophecy of the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28) quoted by the apostle Peter in Acts 2:17 that mentions God using dreams.

Well, although our own conscience has been the refuge for our thoughts, large corporations are now investing huge dollars in targeted dream incubation. In short – they want to control what you dream about. Partnering with leading psychologist Dr Deirdre Barrett, Coors Beer earlier this year developed a film using audio and visual stimuli to induce dreams featuring selective commercial imagery. The project had customers visit a website to watch a short video three times in a row before turning on an 8-hour soundscape to sleep to. “Remind yourself, you want to have a refreshing dream about Coors Big Game commercial” the voice continues. “Replay the film you just watched in your mind’s eye.” Bizarrely, the ploy actually worked and customers had a strong dream reaction to the Coors Beer brand.

Although the project only came to fruition this year, researchers have been toying with the idea for some time now. A 2014 study found that smokers exposed to the smell of cigarettes and rotten eggs while they slept smoked 30% fewer cigarettes during the following week. Others claim that their research even demonstrates that racial bias can be reduced by targeted dream incubation.

For whatever reason, God determined that mankind would dream during sleep. We would do well to commit our sleep phase to Him, rather than corporations looking for another advertising gimmick.

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