Master's Thesis Challenges

Finding lucid dreamers

There were several challenges that had to be faced for the experimental part of this work. First, it was difficult to find subjects who are frequent lucid dreamers. The better the lucid dreaming abilities of the subject, the higher the probability that sleep communication can be conducted in the experiment. Finding lucid dreamers was especially difficult since the experimental phase of this project took place in the middle of the semester break, when only few students were available.

Conducting a polysomnographic study

Second, the concept of conducting a polysomnographic study in a sleep laboratory was new to the author and thus had to be learned for these experiments. This included conducting experiments in a sleep laboratory in general, putting on the EEG cap, EOG and EMG electrodes, calibration and recording, sleep stage classification using the rules given by the AASM Manual (Iber & American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2007) and data post-processing.

Zeo business failure

Third challenge was that the company producing the Zeo, Zeo Inc., went out of business during the development of the Sleeator 2 and similar alternative products were not available. Thus, an originally planned experimental phase with several subjects wearing Zeo’s simultaneously in order to increase the number of nights recorded could not be conducted. Moreover, wear parts like the silver-iodized dry EEG electrodes could not be replaced since they were not sold anymore. Additional measures like special cleaning of the dry electrodes had to be adopted in order to ensure a sufficient signal quality.