Monday, 22 July 2019

Lucid Reviews | Awoken Lucid Dreaming App (Android)

I've decided to begin doing 'Lucid Reviews' of lucid dream and dream-related products, devices, techniques, methods etc - and possibly creative content themed around lucid dreaming and dreaming. 

For my first review I decided to get over my aversion to using modern technology to assist with my dreamwork. I have always avoided trying apps that claim to help induce lucid dreaming. However, being a skeptic as to whether these contemporary devices, programmes or apps actually increase the likelihood of achieving a lucid dream, I may be the perfect critic or reviewer. My aim is always to give an entirely honest, unbiased, objective review. Right now, I will be finding products (to use this as a generalised term) by searching online. I anticipate I will be reviewing free products, and am not sponsored or affiliated with any of the products featured unless I otherwise state clearly. I am very happy to take recommendations for what products you would like to see me review - remember, I am also very interested in reviewing creative content such as movies, documentaries, TV shows, books, art etc which is themed around dreaming and lucid dreaming, so if you have any recommendations in that respect, also please let me know! 

If anyone has a lucid dream/dream related product of their own they would like me to honestly review, you can also get in touch! 

Lucid Reviews | Awoken Lucid Dreaming App (Android)
My review of this product will take place after a 2 week period of trying it out every day as per the instructions for this app. I may ultimately use the app for longer than the period of my review, pending how much I like it or how it seems to be working. 

On each day of the testing period, I will record my dreams as usual on this Blog, and where appropriate, comment as to whether I think the app has had an effect/influenced by dreams in any way, in the analysis section of each dream report. I will link all relevant dreams from this period on my final review post. I will be posting screenshots from my first day of using the app below, but I will not do this for every dream journal entry recorded on my phone, due to not wanting to create extra work for myself. I will show you the dream journal function of the app below, with my dream from the first day recorded to show you an example of this function. This dream will also be recorded on this Blog as usual.

Before showing you what the app looks like (screenshots from my phone), I will give you some information about the app. 

The Awoken app is described as a 'lucid dreaming tool' and was developed by Andreas Rudolph. It is available on Android from the Google Play store (click here for the link). The app, which has been available since 2013, has had +500,000 downloads and many 5 star reviews, with an overall rating of 4.5 stars. The Google Play reviews have many anecdotal claims of success. The app can be downloaded for free, with the option to purchase premium features, which I did not myself do. 

The app focuses on tried and tested lucid dream inductions techniques, such as improving dream recall and identifying recurrent dream symbols (dream patterns) or dreamsigns; and performing reality checks. These traditional techniques are combined with smartphone technology, to enhance the practice of training your mind for lucid dreaming.

You can find out some information about lucid dreaming on the app itself. As you can see, the premium features such as unlocking dream patterns (this archives all dream patterns - recurrent dream symbols which you record with hashtags in your dream journal); the ability to add more than one sketch to a dream journal entry; speech-to-text features (which can record your sleeping sounds by recording them as text or simply enable you to record your dreams verbally, upon waking); and removal of adverts. You can also unlock the dark theme across the entire app, which is provided for night/morning use, reducing the amount of screen glare you are exposed to. 

There are 3 core features for this app: Reality Checks (and 'Dream Cues' - Reality Checks you perform in the dream state); Totem Sounds and Dream Journal.

Reality Checks
Here you set an time interval for the period when you will be awake. Above you can see that mine is set for 12:00 - 05:30 hours - because it was already 04:00 hours when I was downloading and setting the app, and I planned to go to sleep at 05:30 hours and wake up at 12:00 the next day. The next day when I had a better idea of my sleep/wake pattern, I was able to adjust the times/interval of my waking hours for the Reality Check function.

You can also see you are able to set the number of Reality Checks you want for your waking hours. Mine is set at 5, but I later changed this to 10. 

The Reality Check function operates by notifying you it is time to perform a reality check. This is an action you perform to 'check' you are awake and not dreaming, training you to become more aware of you conscious state. My personal reality check is to consider my surroundings, what is happening and how I feel to check if I am awake or in a dream. I then try to push the fingers of my right hand through the palm of my left - in reality my fingers cannot go through my palm. If something else happens - this would be a sign I am dreaming and performing a reality check in a dream state. Don't worry if you don't know how to perform your own reality check - the app not only gives you an audio notification, but also a visual icon, which if you open, instructs you on how to perform a simple reality check and and gives you an option to select to say you are aware you are not dreaming.

Just like with your daily Reality Checks which are set to take place during your waking hours, you also set the time interval  for when you will be asleep, and the number of Totem Sounds you want to use as Dream Cues. These Dream Cues are the Totem Sounds which will penetrate the dream state and trigger your dreaming Reality Check. As you will see, I initially set 10 Dream Cue Totem Sounds between 05:30 and 12:00 hours, which I later adjusted to better suit my sleep/wake pattern.

Totem Sounds
You can choose your own 'Totem Sound' for your Reality Checks - mine allowed me to select any notification alert available on my phone. I would advise that you select a unique notification alert which you are not using for any other app on your phone, so that you can easily distinguish it as your Totem Sound. I selected a notification called 'Daydream' for my Totem Sound. The Totem Sound will condition or train your brain to perform a Reality Check. As you will also be using Totem Sounds during your sleeping hours (as 'Dream Cues'), this will hopefully lead to the performance of a Reality Check within the dream state, triggering a lucid dream, as the Totem Sound will 'penetrate' your dream and act as a cue for a Reality Check within the dream. 

Dream Journal
The Dream Journal function has Cloud Backup, allowing you to synch your entries, for an extra level of safety and security. In addition, there is the option of pin protection. The Dream Journal stores all your dreams in a searchable list for easy access.

You can set a (silent) reminder for your Dream Journal for your time of waking. Not only can you record the text of your dreams, but there is also the option to sketch them. 

If you opt for the premium, paid version of the app, the Dream Pattern Analyzer feature which processes and organises the words and hashtags from your Dream Journal entries so that you can identify and explore recurrent dream symbols and themes better. This is helpful, as recognising something as a 'dreamsign' (something which happens in a dream which makes you consciously aware you are dreaming i.e. lucid) is a common means of triggering lucidity. Additionally, simply using 'Dream Patterns' to explore your dreams and recurrent symbols or themes can be incredibly insightful, giving you a more indepth view of your subconscious mind. I have not purchased the premium features for this app, so I will be unable to comment on how this functions in practice. In my example Dream Journal entry, I have used hashtags for illustrative purposes, but as I have not got the Dream Pattern Analyzer, this will have no effect. 

For each Dream Journal entry, you can record whether or not this was a lucid dream.

When you exit the Awoken app hub, you get a message - 'there is no spoon' - a reference to The Matrix (1999)

Other features of this app worth mentioning are the fact it is possible to pause and resume your lucid dreaming training at any time, for your convenience; and inclusion of an 'Oneironaut Achievements' section, where you can track your progress and statistics. I can anticipate this feature will add an extra layer of motivation for users, by providing something tangible to aim for, which can be an effective means of rewarding dedication and highlighting improvement and success. 

I have linked a Youtube video about this app below, if you would like additional information. I will return in due course to give you mu review of the Awoken app for lucid dreaming!

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