The pill that lets you control your dreams
The pill that lets you control your dreams: Alzheimer’s drug makes people more likely to have ‘lucid dreams’ that they can interact with
Scientists have discovered that a drug commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can also help people control their dreams.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and and the Lucidity Institute in Hawaii found that test subjects who took a drug called galantamine were more likely to have lucid dreams.
Lucid dreams are when people experience a state of heightened awareness during sleep that allows the individual to recognise the dream and control what happens within it.
Forty-two per cent of participants included in the trial had lucid dreams.
They say this new method is ‘one of the most effective methods for inducing lucid dreams available today’.
Stage 5, or REM sleep, is the stage of sleep associated with dreaming.
Brain activity resembles wake time, but skeletal muscles are without movement.
The breathing is more erratic and irregular and the heart rate often increases.
Researchers wanted to look at chemicals called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEls).
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is believed to modulate REM sleep, writes Science Alert.
AChEls inhibit an enzyme in the brain called acetylcholinesterase that inactivates acetylcholine.
Galantamine is the name of a AChEI that is commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease which has just mild side effects.
The drug is not a cure for the disease, but it is designed to significantly slow down the advance of the condition.
It does this by preventing the breakdown of the chemical acetylcholine, which as a result increases communication between nerve cells and alleviates Alzheimer’s symptoms.
In the new experiment, researchers recruited 121 participants to see what effect the drug had on their dreams.
The volunteers chosen had previously undertaken training in lucid dream induction protocols.