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    Thread: Exploring Delta Sleep

    1. #1
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      Exploring Delta Sleep

      A few days ago, while on another thread, I confirmed that a state of self-awareness like LD’ing is not only possible during Delta Sleep,* but also that the potential for conscious exploration is just as enormous as REM LD’ing. Gab noticed the post, and called me on it.

      So, since I’ve been meaning for oh, about a year, to start a thread about delta sleep exploration, I figured now’s as good a time as any…

      First, what is delta sleep? Named after the long, slow brain waves produced during this phase of the sleep cycle, Delta is the period of deep, “quiet” sleep that precedes that stage of sleep everyone here knows quite well: REM. Though it repeats throughout a normal night’s sleep as your sleeping body cycles through the stages of sleep, delta lasts longest in its first appearance of the night (often as long as an hour), and occurs between REM periods for shorter amounts of time as the night wears on (down to just a moment if you manage 10 to 12 hours of sleep).

      In the LD’ing universe, delta is traditionally held as an obstacle to lucidity. It is that long period of emptiness that makes WILD’s almost impossible to do right at bedtime. But I (and of course many others, especially practitioners of sleep yoga) have found that there may be great value in Delta sleep exploration.

      Why? Because, if you’ve got your self-awareness and memory working well, the quiet emptiness of delta, with its thorough lack of active unconscious input, can afford you a unique opportunity to do things such as relax in perfect nothingness, deeply explore your Self, tap your still-dormant dreaming mind in a manner unfettered by existing dreams, explore transcendental states, and, perhaps, connect your awareness to the supernatural-plane type things we all get excited about here, like dream-sharing and AP, all without the distraction and misinformation of your brain’s REM dream engine. That’s all I’ll say about the “why” for now. If anyone’s interested in this stuff, or feels a need to take issue (i.e, “dude, the reason delta sleep is useless is because those long slow waves don’t carry any useful information”), please go ahead and maybe we can start up an interesting conversation.

      Gab specifically asked me, on that other thread, to expand on my experiences in delta. I will, if the thread progresses, but for now let me give a quick history of my time in delta:

      When I first got interested in dreaming, back in the pre-internet, pre-PC, pre-video game, pre-cell phone dark ages of the 1970’s (what did we do back then?), I tended to attempt to stay awake straight into my dreams when I went to bed at night. LaBerge hadn’t even invented the term “WILD” yet, and I was still a kid in high school with no knowledge of dream physiology, so I didn’t know that WILD at night is a non-no. Needless to say I failed almost every attempt (though I did get lots of DILD’s thanks to my strong intentions and waking-life prep). However, occasionally I would succeed, and found myself drifting in this weird non-space that I would later learn is delta sleep. So, with nothing better to do, I tried stuff.

      At first I did little more than pay attention to the nothingness, and in time I noticed it wasn’t necessarily all nothing -- I could hear distant voices if I listened carefully: conversations that were audible, but words that were not quite comprehensible; I could “add” small things like shapes, lights, and (hard to describe) tangible thoughts to the nothingness with some effort. It was kind of cool; and, according to my dream journals from those days, I sensed potential.

      But then two things happened: first, I discovered that WILD (I still didn’t call it that, of course) works better after many hours of sleep. Second, I went to college, where I studied the stages of sleep in psychology classes. Those classes, along with lots of independent research in the library, taught me that for my purposes Delta sleep didn’t matter, and could be ignored. So ignore it I did, and began simply going to sleep at night and reserving any LD efforts for the next morning.

      Then, some twenty years later, my LD’ing practice was taking me to self-imposed places devoid of all things, all input, places of singular stillness, of real peace, of blank slates set for real creation and unique dives into the ocean of my unconscious, dreaming, mind. At the same time, I heard about this thing called sleep yoga and discovered that it (sleep yoga) was what I had been doing all along -- except that sleep yogis don’t just stay aware in REM, but also in delta. So I put the two together, and realized that it might be time to look at delta again, if only (at first) because it seemed a lot easier to remove everything from my dreams if there was nothing there in the first place. So I did.

      Since then, I’ve had several dozen excursions into delta that I could honestly say happened, and were not just HI or false lucids. The experiences varied from the most common ones which were moments of undisturbed oddly linear thoughts, to several occasions of non-dual blissful emptiness, to possible transcendental mind-blowers. Essentially, I had returned to a place I had chanced upon over 30 years ago, and used my time-tested LD’ing tools to make that place both interesting and extremely valuable.

      As I’m getting tired of writing, I'm well into “tl;dr” territory, and I'm not sure anyone cares anyway, I’ll leave this at that for now. If anyone’s curious, particularly about: my experiences, how to recognize delta, how to form “dreams” in delta, or why you think I’m full of shit, let me know, and we can continue.


      * Delta sleep is known on these forums as NREM, but I'll keep calling it "delta" if that's okay -- the term "NREM" isn't entirely correct in this case, because NREM occurs during other sleep stages that are not delta. Also, it involves too many caps, and sounds kind of nasty.

    2. #2
      gab
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      Sageous, I'm so glad you wrote this, thank you.

      Delta exploration sounds very intriguing.

      So how can I tell I'm in delta?

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      Thanks for starting this thread, it looks like a very interesting topic and am looking forward to learning more about delta itself, delta dreaming opportunities as well as other's experiences during this sleep stage.

      Before posting any deep sleep impressions myself, I will try to mentally go back to those moments to see if I can remember anything interesting about NREM sleep.
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      Thank you SO MUCH Sageous - for getting Delta Dawn stuck in my head!!

      I love threads like this (not that there are many others like it here) - by people who were lucid dreamers even pre-LaBerge and happened upon it all accidentally and explored it on their own terms. For me this post wasn't TL;DR it's TI;RIA (totally interesting; read it all!). And I want to hear some of what you found diving deep into the delta.

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      Quote Originally Posted by gab View Post
      ...So how can I tell I'm in delta?
      Good question! I'm guessing the answer to that is different for each person who consciously experiences the state. Was that a dodge? How about this, then:

      If you are familiar with WILD, you will know that there is a "pause," a brief moment of absolute stillness, in between the last vestiges of waking life and the first of dreaming life. If you're doing WILD correctly (including making your attempt in the morning after several hours of sleep), that pause is extremely short, though you likely have experienced it. You may have ignored it, failed to notice it, or noticed it and just didn't care, simply waiting for it to pass in anticipation of things to come; but you likely experienced it.

      At night, when you first go to sleep, that pause can be very long, and, if you are able to pay enough attention to it (which I highly recommend, of course), you'll find it is less empty than it seems at first glance: thoughts still stream, but far more slowly and palely than you're used to, and if you listen carefully, you might hear sounds or voices that always stay just out of range (or not; that last bit could just be me). Or you might experience something else altogether; but when your self-awareness enters delta intact, you will recognize the pause for what it is.

      I believe that if you are able maintain self-awareness through the entire initial delta period, you will know that you are there, and there will be no confusion with HI or other pre-REM phenomena. Also keep in mind that it is possible to dream that you are in delta, but once you experience the real thing, you will be able to tell the difference.

      That may sound vague, but as I said, I'm guessing that the answer to your question is truly different for each person who consciously experiences the state... the pause, however, should be the marker shared by all.

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      Thanks for typing all of that up! It does seem like an interesting topic to me.

      What are some of your past experiences in delta sleep?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Thank you SO MUCH Sageous - for getting Delta Dawn stuck in my head!!
      Yes, Helen Reddy just emailed me a thank you note that reads, "Someone remembers me!"...

      [we may be the only folks on this thread who get this]
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      Quote Originally Posted by DragonMaster21 View Post
      What are some of your past experiences in delta sleep?
      Let me give you three examples in the distinct categories into which they seem to fall (you or others here may find yourself familiar with some of this stuff, I think):

      First, there is a state I've often been in, during that long wait for REM, where I am alone in darkness, bodiless, yet with fading but still distant awareness of my physical form. Almost invariably in that state I will hear voices having quiet conversations -- voices I hear quite clearly, but I can never make out the words. At first this drove me nuts, but in time it offered me sort of an odd comfort (it may be the only noise I welcome during normal WILD dives).

      Next, another thing that regularly happens is a subtle shift to the thoughts that normally (even in dreams) flutter chaotically about my head like a thick swarm of tireless, annoying butterflies. In delta, thoughts are reduced to just a few, and seem to slow down and stretch out, becoming strangely tangible, as if entities unto themselves. It's difficult to describe, but I guess the best way to try is to say that perhaps these thoughts are the little brothers to the thoughts that become "reality" in dreams. Now the ironic bit: Clear and slow-moving as these thoughts may be, I can to this day remember absolutely no specifics about any of them -- as if they never happened... yet I can still feel their pressure and presence; as if their energy were more significant than their content.

      Then there are the rarer bits: On several occasions I held onto my self-awareness long enough to successfully do something during the pause. At first I tried the things I wanted to do in my dreams, like construct the places or situations I wanted to visit, but I quickly found that wasn’t happening -- each attempt left me with either more “nothing” or a loss of self-awareness and surrender to normal sleep and dream (though DILD usually followed, eventually). So, taking the hint from those quiet voices and tangible yet unheard thoughts, I decided to be subtle. Initially, I summoned geometric shapes in primary colors with some success, and even managed to visit a few strange places, though those places were always very dim, very gray, and oddly immersed in the wind of my body’s distant breath (I never did figure that one out!). More occurred, some of it certainly fun and novel, but suffice it to say that image-making in this state is a limited process indeed, perhaps due to the disconnect with the physical mechanisms that create dreams during REM. Oh, and pretty much all of my perceived OBE experiences started from this state -- I never thought much of that, but it might be worth mentioning here..

      Beyond these clear (ha, ha) examples are the precious few transcendental moments when I could command my self-awareness with enough gusto to try the big stuff -- like taking a metaphoric dive into the ocean of my unconscious to see how deep I could go, what or with whom I might be swimming with, and whether I could pour that ocean into a spiritual cup and take it home with me. Those were amazing dives, but I have trouble describing them both because my memory of where I went is fraught with things I cannot describe even to myself, much less others, and because I cannot honestly say whether these things truly happened during delta, or were perhaps given to me later in REM -- It’s all too vague, but suffice it to say that some very excellent stuff was initiated by my interest and conscious presence in delta.

      That’s all I got for now… I’m going to take some time this week to browse my dream journals and see if there’s something interesting that I may have forgotten (though I doubt that could happen!).

      Thanks for your interest guys, and I hope that answer holds it for a bit! Feel free to discuss, deny, demand elaboration, or, perhaps, add your own experiences...

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      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      ... and if you listen carefully, you might hear sounds or voices that always stay just out of range ...
      I was WILDing today and on a grey background, I started hearing voices in the distance. As you would hear many voices from a crowded restaurant. Same as I imagened it would sound, when I was reading your post.

      I'm not saying it was from delta. I was WILDing early morning, so most likely it was regular HH. But I was able to think "hey, this is what sageous was talking about". I like how my mind remembers everything I read here on DV with interest. Btw, this was my only second auditory voice HH. It was interesting.

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      During the first hours of the night, as expected I don't have many dreams, but have noticed that from time to time have audio dreams. These may be some form of HH, but they do seem to continue for a rather long time. Like I begin falling asleep and some HH HI would start and after I fall unconsciously asleep, this conversation between me and someone or my mind? would go on for hours, I would sometimes be aware that I am having these dream conversations, and as I wake up in an 1-3hrs I would know they have been going the whole time. I usually cannot recall anything of those conversations though, because they occur in deep sleep. Could that be related to delta somehow?

      I will continue on my new task to pay more attention to everything as I fall asleep. Hopefully this becomes a habit in the future and I make some more practical discoveries.
      Last edited by NyxCC; 03-31-2013 at 10:37 PM.
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      @ sageous

      How do you keep yourself aware? Same as when WILDing?

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      Quote Originally Posted by NyxCC View Post
      During the first hours of the night, as expected I don't have many dreams, but have noticed that from time to time have audio dreams. These may be some form of HH, but they do seem to continue for a rather long time. Like I begin falling asleep and some HH HI would start and after I fall unconsciously asleep, this conversation between me and someone or my mind? would go on for hours, I would sometimes be aware that I am having these dream conversations, and as I wake up in an 1-3hrs I would know they have been going the whole time. I usually cannot recall anything of those conversations though, because they occur in deep sleep. Could that be related to delta somehow?
      Yes, it very well could.

      I will continue on my new task to pay more attention to everything as I fall asleep. Hopefully this becomes a habit in the future and I make some more practical discoveries.
      Always a good plan...let us know if you find anything, especially if its something that's been there all along!
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      Quote Originally Posted by gab View Post
      How do you keep yourself aware? Same as when WILDing?
      Yes, it's pretty much the same as with WILD'ing; it's also the same as with waking life, for that matter.

      Maintaining self-awareness is no different during delta, except maybe you need a little extra patience, and really must be comfortable with nothing going on for long stretches of time.
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      Ok, now the silly question. You do need to fall asleep to experience delta, right? So you just keep your awareness and observe delta stage.

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      Thanks for the feedback and for taking time to write all these explanations and experiences.
      Looking forward to future insights and discoveries for all of us.
      Last edited by NyxCC; 04-01-2013 at 02:09 AM.
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      @ gab, I also think that delta waves can occur during meditation. With regards to that it probably doesn't matter if you are asleep or awake because if you are into deep delta meditation, you are kind of asleep anyways. If you manage to keep yourself awake while completely shutting off the internal dialogue when meditating you get all kinds of indescribable experiences, like sageous would put it.

      But if you were to ask me, how can you be sure it's delta waves during meditation, for me, it feels like a very deep relaxation where you don't seem to care what you are engaged with anymore, yet you remain totally alert. You feel as if you are totally merged with the room, which may become obscured by light patterns (if your eyes are open during the meditation), etc and it may even disappear. Whenever that has began to happen, I would usually be too startled to let the world shut down and see what's behind the room becoming pixels and disappearing while my eyes are wide open. I guess effects can go even deeper with even more delta waves...yogis know best...

      Sorry to drift off topic here, decided it might relate a bit to delta sleep though.
      Last edited by NyxCC; 04-01-2013 at 02:55 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by gab View Post
      Ok, now the silly question. You do need to fall asleep to experience delta, right? So you just keep your awareness and observe delta stage.
      Yes indeedy, Gab, you do need to fall asleep to experience delta.

      Not to contradict NyxCC (because he's right; more in a sec), but delta occurs long after your body has begun its slumber. In the normal cycle, your body has already passed through two stages of sleep before you even reach delta. In those first two stages you're drifting between wake and sleep, but you have begun the process of being asleep. In other words, you're already asleep by the time delta turns up -- which makes it all that much harder to get to it, and through it, consciously.

      Not so silly a question, though, given all this talk about staying awake!

      A brief WILD aside: those early stages are the times you most need to do your mantra and hold your focus during WILD, because they're the times your mind is most apt to wander (because, of course, you've begun to fall asleep).


      NyxCC: I too have heard that a (very) deeply meditating person can reach a state that produces delta waves, but I think you'd have to go even deeper than the state you describe.

      Delta really is a state of complete conscious isolation. During the meditation you described, I think delta waves would likely start being made at the extreme end, after you've shut off your physical perception tools and set aside all input from the world (including your own body); indeed, probably just after that moment where you noted you tend to get startled.

      I am confident that some yogis can, and do, do this, especially hyper-advanced practitioners of Samadhi yoga and, of course, sleep yoga. It would also be easy to prove, if you can get a meditating yogi hooked up to an EEG!

      So, yes, I agree that delta waves can be produced during meditation, but it would have to be some very advanced meditating. Easier, I think, just to fall asleep with your self-awareness intact and let your body do the reality erasing for you...
      Last edited by Sageous; 04-01-2013 at 07:43 AM.
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      I agree with you sageous, the true delta state would most likely start after the room shuts down. That would mean that at that point delta waves would be the predominant waves. Before that in the state I am describing, I think though, that delta waves begin to emerge and are present in the brain together with other waves. But I can't prove that unless I hook myself to EEG, and if that happens I probably won't be able to meditate at all.

      One thing I forgot to mention, why I feel so confident it is deep meditation - my breath. Usually during the deeper levels of meditation I notice three breathing patterns I associate with different deep meditation experiences. Those are not in a sequence or according to scale, I just list them.

      Pattern1: somewhat slower and deeper breathing than light meditation
      Pattern2: such a slow breath not so deep as Pattern1, that often gets me wonder how I can even get enough oxigen, this is my most relaxed yet alert lightweight state
      Pattern3: a temporary breath shifting, where I actually feel like something is forcing me to inhale deeper, and my breathing speeds up by itself, this is when the room tries to shut down ( this breathing gets me more agitated not the other way around)

      That really got me thinking about a possible pet project that you could also try if you are interested. Trying to record breathing patterns during sleep to see if you can pinpoint delta. I would also like to compare sleep breath with meditation breath for myself. Now all I have to do is find a good recorder, and hope this works.
      Last edited by NyxCC; 04-01-2013 at 03:50 PM.
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      ^^ That sounds like an interesting project, NyxCC, but for me there is but one problem: In delta sleep -- and likely in delta-wave producing meditation, there is no breath.

      Remember that this is the "deep sleep" stage of sleep, when you are completely removed from your bodily and mental activity (hence the slow wide brain waves), so any ability to register your rate of breathing will likely be absent. Indeed, during my self-aware moments in delta, I noticed what I assumed later to be my breath only as a distantly based, quiet, yet all-pervasive wind. I don't think I would have the faculties to register the source and rate of that wind, and I have a feeling that if I did, I would rapidly rise from delta.

      Though I've never been there myself, I would guess the same would work for meditation: In order to truly approach the ultimate "letting go" that delta-level meditation would require, you would, I imagine, need to quietly dispense with things like minding your breathing until that breathing is simply no longer there, and delta meditation has "room" to ensue.

      Of course, I could be wrong. But, given what I know of delta, both from science and personal experience, I think attempting to track my breathing during delta sleep would not be helpful for me.

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      I like your wind- like explanation of the breath. I agree with what you said, trying to monitor the breath yourself can be hard, I was thinking using a voice recorder next to your head.
      Last edited by NyxCC; 04-01-2013 at 06:00 PM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by NyxCC View Post
      I like your wind- like explanation explanation of the breath. I agree with what you said, trying to monitor the breath yourself can be hard, I was thinking using a voice recorder next to your head.
      Now that would work... as a matter of fact, it would be interesting to record my breath throughout the night, just to see how close my actual breathing is to what I think I'm doing.

      I hope you try it out ... if you do, I also hope you'll share the results!
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      So, can I stay in one continuous, aware, and lucid dream state all night? Slowly drifting in and out of my meditative delta states and my action packed LDs? I love you.

      And how would I enter the delta (because I have no chance of DILD in NREM)? Should I just WILD without prior sleep? Also, off-topic, but did sleep yogis in Buddhism use WILD or DILD methods exclusively or did they use both?
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      I really would like to try that out, just have to find a good voice recorder, because I don't want to keep the mobile phone too close to my body. When I do that I will share any findings. Will also be happy to read your impressions if you decide to do that as well.
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      Great topic! Thanks for posting this, Sageous.

      Quote Originally Posted by Sageous View Post
      Yes, it's pretty much the same as with WILD'ing; it's also the same as with waking life, for that matter.

      Maintaining self-awareness is no different during delta, except maybe you need a little extra patience, and really must be comfortable with nothing going on for long stretches of time.
      Did you perform any particular training in order to prepare yourself for staying aware all the way to the darkness of delta sleep? I mean, apart from practicing lucid dreaming for 40 years, which I'm sure doesn't hurt.

      A dive this deep sounds like a pretty daunting journey. (You should see how much I pat myself on the back for a basic WILD!) How would you recommend someone start down this road if they were interested in where it leads?
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      Quote Originally Posted by CanisLucidus View Post
      ...Did you perform any particular training in order to prepare yourself for staying aware all the way to the darkness of delta sleep? I mean, apart from practicing lucid dreaming for 40 years, which I'm sure doesn't hurt.
      Nope, no particular training... just a whole lot of practice (much of it trial and error at first), a whole lot of failure, and a whole lot of patience. Indeed, unless you're willing to go to Tibet for several years, I doubt there is any particular "training" you can get from a third party in this department; and, for that matter, I'm not a big fan of training and all these techniques birthed by the internet anyway -- better to simply learn to maintain self-awareness and memory. And, though 30+ years of dream work, with WILD as a primary tool, didn't hurt either, keep in mind I had my first delta experiences decades ago... interest, focus, and adherence to the fundamentals can get you a long way quite quickly.

      A dive this deep sounds like a pretty daunting journey. (You should see how much I pat myself on the back for a basic WILD!) How would you recommend someone start down this road if they were interested in where it leads?
      Yes, it is daunting, but not impossible. I guess my best recommendation, which I think I might have made last paragraph, would be to get very good at WILD. If you can master holding your focus and self-awareness for long
      stretches and through the various stages of sleep that WILD entails, then you're halfway there. After that, all you need is patience and a powerful waking-life interest in visiting delta sleep. Beyond that, I guess an interest in sleep yoga would help, as would spending time in your "regular" LD's trying to erase all the scenery and schemata in a "non-dual" manner.

      I hope that helped...

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