The Dream Journal
The Dream Journal
Dream Engineering with Michelle Carr, PhD

Dr. Michelle Carr studies dreams in a Sleep and Neurophysiology lab in Rochester NY where she studies lucid dreams and nightmares. Michelle was fresh from her own overnight sleep study where she was sent flashing lights and an audio signal once she was in REM sleep that triggered a lucid dream. In her lab they are experimenting with a variety of lucid dream triggers. We also talk about sleep paralysis including how common they are (8% of the population, not 25% as Katherine incorrectly states) and how the experience itself can be used to trigger lucid dreams.

Katherine bemoans her own lack of lucid dreaming, and Michelle shares several powerful techniques including her favorite the “wake back to sleep” method in which you set an alarm at 4am, then spend 30 minutes awake before going back to sleep with the intention of becoming conscious in your dreams. We then talk about how active both body and mind are when we are sleeping. We talk about the phenomenon that sometimes people dream that they are lying in bed awake leading them to think that they are having insomnia when they are actually sleeping more than they think. Michelle talks about using lucid dreaming to help people with symptoms of PTSD and about a newly technology called Nightware which nudges people who are having nightmares to help them shift into a more productive dream state without waking them.

Michelle Carr will be the next IASD president. We talk about what that entails and also about her upcoming swearing in during the June virtual conference which you can learn about on their webpage here: Early bird discount available through May 15.

We take a call from Westside Ray who shares what he describes as a wonderful dream in which he gets a beautiful hug from his deceased grandfather which led us into a discussion of how to induce more visitation dreams. Michelle suggests priming the sleeping room with smells that remind you of your beloved deceased.

Bio: Michelle Carr, PhD, is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester in New York, where she works in the Sleep and Neurophysiology Laboratory. Michelle has been studying dreams in various sleep laboratories for the past 10 years; she mainly studies the structure and functions of dreaming – what’s happening in the brain and body while we dream, and how does this influence our waking life? She also studies nightmares, and treatments for nightmares including lucid dreaming. Michelle is also developing a research network in the new field of dream engineering – using techniques and technologies to influence dreams for greater health and wellbeing. She organized a Dream x Engineering Workshop with MIT Media Laboratory in 2019, and was managing guest editor for a special issue on the topic with the journal Consciousness and Cognition. Michelle is also Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, and she writes for Psychology Today, and other magazines.

You can find out more about Michelle Carr at the following sites:

Twitter @darwinsdreams

We played clips from Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Daydream Diamonds by Paul Patience which can be found on Sound Cloud here.

Live ambient music by Rick Kleffel.

Show aired on May 8, 2021.


The Dream Journal is produced at and airs on KSQD Santa Cruz, 90.7 FM, streaming live at 10-11am Saturday mornings Pacific time.  Catch it live and call in with your dreams or questions at 831-900-5773 or at

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