In this paper, we address the different ways in which dream research can contribute to interdisciplinary consciousness research. As a second global state of consciousness aside from wakefulness, dreaming is an important contrast condition for theories of waking consciousness. However, programmatic suggestions for integrating dreaming into broader theories of consciousness, for instance by regarding dreams as a model system of standard or pathological wake states, have not yielded straightforward results. We review existing proposals for using dreaming as a model system, taking into account concerns about the concept of modeling and the adequacy and practical feasibility of dreaming as a model system. We conclude that existing modeling approaches are premature and rely on controversial background assumptions. Instead, we suggest that contrastive analysis of dreaming and wakefulness presents a more promising strategy for integrating dreaming into a broader research context and solving many of the problems involved in the modeling approach. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.