Working the graveyard shift at the witching hour: Further exploration of dreams, psi and circadian rhythms

  • David P Luke (Author)
    University of Greenwich

    Senior Lecturer

    Department of Psychology and Counselling

  • Karolina Zychowicz (Author)
    Division of Psychology The University of Northampton, UK

Identifiers (Article)


Research and theory suggests that the chemicals made in the pineal gland (e.g., melatonin, pinoline, and possibly DMT) follow a circadian rhythm and are important in the processes of sleeping, and possibly dreaming too. These nocturnal chemicals may also be important in the mediation of spontaneous mystical and visionary states and in the mediation of psi (e.g., precognition or telepathy). One such pineal chemical, melatonin, is known to fluctuate in quantity considerably during the night. Nevertheless very little research has been conducted to test whether peak melatonin periods (e.g., 3am) are more conducive to psi than lower melatonin periods (e.g., 8am), although the two studies that have been conducted have found positive effects (Luke et al., 2012; Satyanarayana, Rao & Vijayalakshmi, 1993). The present study tested for dream precognition among 20 individual participants on ten separate nights each, with trials both during the night and first thing in the morning. A free-response dream precognition task was used, with participants viewing four clips after dreaming and ranking them for similarity to the dream. After ranking, the actually target was selected randomly by computer. Dream precognition scores were above chance, and scores were better at 3am compared to 8am, however these findings were non-significant. Dream bizarreness, supposedly mediated by melatonin, was actually higher at 8am than at 3am, though again, non-significant, however some individual differences were found that were tentatively interpreted as indicating the necessity for recruiting motivated participants, especially when recruiting from an undergraduate student population, because issues of maturity, belief and attentiveness appear important. Directions for future research are discussed. 


Contributor or sponsoring agency
University of Greenwich Research and Enterprise
dream precognition, circadian cycles, melatonin, DMT, dream bizarreness
How to Cite
Luke, D. P., & Zychowicz, K. (2014). Working the graveyard shift at the witching hour: Further exploration of dreams, psi and circadian rhythms. International Journal of Dream Research, 7(2), 105–112.