Some people can lucid dream, so they are aware that they are dreaming while sleeping and can actively influence the dream plot. Cynthia Ruf is dedicating a photo series to this topic; the pictures shown here were taken in the sleep laboratory at the Institute of Sports Science at the University of Bern. Lucid dream phases are recorded through electrodes – research at the edge of consciousness.

01 Salma is a lucid dreamer. She can actually realise that she is dreaming and control her dream. In the sleep lab, her lucid dream phases can be recorded and her sleep patterns can be analysed. 


02 This device transmits electrical signals from the electrodes attached to the head and amplifies them. The signals can then be evaluated on the computer.


03 Emma Peters, PhD student at the University of Bern, prepares Salma for the experiment and attaches the electrodes with a special adhesive to specific spots on her face and on her head.


04 This keyboard is modified for a research project to investigate motor learning in lucid dreaming.


05 Emma monitors brain activity from the next room. The peaks and troughs of the signals are characteristic for lucid dreams. The test participants can mark the beginning of a lucid dream by consciously moving their eyes to the left and right (REM) and thus communicate with the outside world. 


06 In the sleep lab, Salma sleeps with an electrode bonnet. The different electrodes on her head receive signals from the respective brain region to which they are attached. The signals can then be viewed as individual traces on the computer and allow conclusions about brain activities and lucid sleep phases.


07 Prof. Dr Daniel Erlacher is Associate Professor of Sport Science at the Institute of Sport Science at the University of Bern. In his doctoral and postdoctoral research, he focused on lucid dreaming.

  • Photos

    Cynthia Ruf

  • Text

    Jan Oberländer

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