Have you ever experienced a dream in which you knew that you were dreaming? The visual images in the dream felt real and you could recall every small detail of it.
Were you feeling that somehow you are a bystander to all the happenings going around in that vision? If yes, then you were in a state of lucid dreams.
Scientific studies on sleep and dreaming have proved that this conscious state of dreaming occurs when you are aware, mentally agile, a mere onlooker, and a participant in the process of dreaming. Though it sounds weird and absurd, it’s a fact.
Read on to know the details of such a dream with its causes, benefits and the downside as well.
Summary in Infographics
What is a lucid dream? (Lucid dream meaning)
Lucid dreams are conscious dreaming where the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and as such can feel that the events or vision flashing in front are not real; it’s only a good or bad dream.
In lucid dreams, you are aware that what you’re seeing as a night vision is just a mere dream. It is not a reality. It means you are aware of your dreams while asleep. This awareness also helps you to control what happens in the dream.
Lucid dreams help you to unfold the next occurrence in your dream. It means you know how to unfold the story in dreams.
Many people report having lucid dreams though the fact is, it is not that common. A lucid dream is a typical vision where the dreamer can have some control on the dream characters, the narratives, emotions, and the general context of such a dream.
The term lucid dream was first coined by a Dutch psychiatrist and author Frederik Van Eeden in 1913.
Lucid dreams are different from normal dreaming in the sense that the dreamer is consciously informed of being in a dream, while physiologically asleep. The term ‘lucid’ means mental clarity, recognition, and awareness. (Green, 1968)
Studies showed that lucid dreams happen to be an exception where the dreamer is sleeping but consciously understands their dreams, being immersed in a dream atmosphere that appears real.
As the person is aware that a dream state is in place, this phenomenon is also referred to as metacognitive mechanism.
Metacognition is the individual’s ability to understand, reflect, and report one’s own mental states (Schooler, 2002).
Typically when dreaming happens, we do not realize that it is not real. It’s only after waking up we can comprehend that it was just a dream. However, in lucid dreams, people are fully conscious of the fact that they are an onlooker and participant in their dreaming process.
There are many features of lucid dreams that make them different from normal dreams. Lucid dreams carry the features of both waking and sleep states.
The following features of lucid dreams were identified by Paul Tholey
- Awareness or being conscious of the dream state
- The dream is vivid and you realize that you’re asleep and already in a fantasy world
- Ability to make decisions about the dream
- Awareness of self
- Being conscious of one’s memory functions
- Ability to understand the details of the dream environment
- Awareness and understanding the meaning of the dream
- The dreamer has a subjective clarity of his/her dream states
- The dreamer has a control of the dream narratives
- Emotions run high during the dream process
- Sleeping brain can show weird images that waking non-lucid dreams do not
Scientific surveys have shown that 55% of adults have experienced lucid dreams at least once in their lifetime and about 23% of them have similar experiences at least once in a month.
(LaBerge, 1985) However lucid dreams have potential health risks causing sleep disturbances and cognitive problems where dreamers may have problems demarcating the fine line between reality and fantasy.
It has also been found that lucid dreams are fairly infrequent and rare. People who experience such dreams are able to explore their inner world of fantasy with more awareness and better quality of dream recall.
Difference between lucid dream and normal dream [lucid dream vs normal dream]
The major differences between a normal dream and lucid dreams are:
|Lucid Dreams||Normal Dreams|
|This is a conscious dreaming where the dreamer is aware of the dream narratives and conText. it can be induced||Normal dreams are spontaneous and the dreamer may not be aware of the fantasy at play|
|These dream stories are better recalled by the dreamer||It is usually marked by poor recall|
|Lucid dreams are uncommon and less frequent||Normal dreams can occur quite frequently|
|The dreamer has some form of control over dream narratives||As the dream happens involuntarily, the dreamer doesn’t have any control over dream narratives|
When does a lucid dream happen and what goes on in the brain?
Lucid dreams are fascinating because it shows how your conscious mind can take over and gain control over dreams during a physiological state of sleep.
This type of dreaming occurs during REM sleep (Rapid eye movement sleep) when the mind is active and alert like a wakeful state and is marked by eye movements, faster breathing, more brain activity, and loss of muscular movements.
The first REM sleep cycle starts after 90 minutes of falling asleep. Initially it lasts for 10 minutes. Each REM stage that follows next is usually longer. As the brain becomes very active during a REM stage, the regions in the brain responsible for awareness, insight, concentration activates like that of a waking state.
The frontal cortex responsible for memory functioning, emotions, and problem solving also gets active and as such the dreamer’s ability to understand that they are dreaming becomes apparent. (Reference: A 2017 study published in the journal Neuroscience of consciousness, Julian Mutz, 2017)
For most dreamers the onset of this dream state is spontaneous and there are others who train themselves to start dreaming lucidly after a lot of practice.
The degree to which people influence their dreams also varies. Some people wake up after realizing that they are dreaming while others may try to change their dream narratives to make it more pleasant.
During REM sleep, the individual undergoes an altered mind state where the thin line between waking consciousness and sleep gets blurred and the ability to understand the process of dreaming increases significantly.
Common physical characteristics of lucid dreamers
Lucid dreaming brings certain physical changes in the dreamer such as:
- Higher than normal brain activity during sleep
- MRI scans of prefrontal cortex shows increased awareness, conscious about oneself, better memory and cognitive functions
- Lucid dreamers have more gray matter volume that means higher levels of conscious thinking needed for lucid dreaming
- Better dream recall after waking up
- Increased heart beats
- It resembles a hybrid state of sleep as it has features of both sleep and a wakeful state of arousal
Common psychological characteristics of lucid dreamers
- Good self-awareness, ability to understand their individual cognitive processes
- Better control of emotions and behavior while dreaming
- Ability to confront the deepest fears, if any, because of better clarity and brain functioning
- Good at remembering their dreams than other normal dreamers
- Good amount of self introspection
- These people are more creative
What causes lucid dreams?
It still remains unclear the real causes behind lucid dreams though several scientific studies have indicated that increased brain activity during the REM sleep state can cause increased awareness and thereby making such dreams possible.
However, the self-induced lucid dreaming is usually caused due to wish fulfillment, or the need to overcome the deepest fears of the dreamer.
In lucid dreams, certain parts of the brain, primarily the prefrontal cortex, get activated that usually stays in a restful state otherwise. This hyperactivity leads to increased awareness and causes the dreams to happen with more clarity.
The body extremities during REM sleep are rendered immobile and this is the time when lucid dreams can start.
Research findings have also found that lucid dreams are a result of association between prefrontal cortex, parietal cortex, and lateral middle temporal cortex and all these areas get super neural connectivity during the REM sleep causing such dreams to occur.
How to lucid dream? (10 lucid dreaming techniques)
Though lucid dreaming is not a very common phenomenon, many people experience it spontaneously about once or twice in their lifetime.
But there are few exceptional people who induce lucid dreaming and tune their brain to dream in desirable ways. Lucid dreamers use certain specific techniques to influence their brains to dream about a specific thing.
They train their minds to work in specific ways while sleeping. These people can open up newer and innovative ways to explore the dreams that they see, and even participate in the next course of action that happens in the dream.
It means that dreamers do not passively experience their dream rather they make some effort to test how things actually work in the dream state.
The advanced lucid dreamers were able to give signals to the researcher that they were dreaming by moving their eyes from left to right during the process of dreaming.
This allowed the researchers to study the brain waves through EEG and MRI and they came to the conclusion that improved metacognition and hyperactivity of prefrontal cortex are the main reasons for successful lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is a matter of practice and you can train your brain to work in certain ways by following a few of the best techniques used by professionals in this field. These techniques are used to improve awareness and train your mind to notice consciousness.
Moreover these methods are also reliably used to help you regain or maintain a conscious state of mind as you enter the REM sleep state; while the body appears to be in deep sleep. Some of the well-known techniques that can help how to dream lucidly are:
1. A warm and cozy bedroom setup conducive for dreaming
It has been found that the REM stage of sleep is the ideal time to experience lucid dreams. Most of it usually happens during the second half of the night or towards the morning.
Sleep experts believe that to enjoy more dreams you actually need more hours of restful and stress free sleep and that can only happen if the sleeping space is devoid of disturbances.
To get a good sleep ensure that you have a proper space to sleep well and you should follow a good sleep hygiene and schedule as well.
You should keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark. Moreover you can use an eye mask to close your eyes, so that no light can get through. Similarly your ears can be plugged in to avoid unnecessary noise.
Before retiring to bed, you can follow a calming bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath, avoiding the use of electronic devices, or even practicing meditation.
All these can calm down the mind and take it to a peaceful abode away from disturbances and chaos. You can dream better if external factors are controlled as much as possible.
2. Maintain a dream journal
A successful lucid dreamer always keeps a record of the dream context, the details of the dream, his/her feelings attached with it and much more in a dream diary or journal.
You can do it in your own good ways and the moment you get up from the dream state, you may write down all the details of the dream. You may even record your memories as a voice memo if that suits you well.
Dream journaling is a good way to analyze the recurring episodes of dreams, symbols and characters present in the dream, narratives, etc. This method helps you to know your dreams and gives a good indicator of how to lucid dream in the right way the next time you experience it.
3. Understanding the dream signs
You can review your dream journal records from time to time to recognize the similar patterns of lucid dreams. It will help you to know whether certain themes, people, scenes recur in dreams frequently.
Such a review helps in better understanding of your inner workings, the emotional residues in the unconscious mind that may show up in the dream state. It will also help you to understand when you’re dreaming. Your dream signs are cues that help you to understand the dreams in a better way.
4. Reality checks
Reality checks are the various assessment tools that help to analyze whether you’re awake or asleep. These checks are a form of mind-training tool that improves metacognition and helps you to notice your consciousness.
In cognitive neuropsychiatry, researchers have found that if you possess higher levels of metacognition in a waking state, it would also lead to increased metacognition when you’re dreaming.
This proposition is related to the activation of the prefrontal cortex that plays a significant role both in reality testing and lucid dreaming. You can do reality checks by following certain steps several times throughout the day.
- You can ask yourself by asking “Am I dreaming right now?”
- See around to know whether you are dreaming or not
- Notice your level of awareness closely and engage with your immediate surroundings to know whether you are in a wakeful state or not
Some common reality testing that you may use to lucid dream is:
- Mirrors – Check our reflection and identify the signs of abnormality or distortion, if any
- Solid objects – You can push your hand against a table, wall, or any other hard object and see whether your hand gets into it. If it gets inside, you’re dreaming but if you get hurt due to a big bang, it means you are in a wakeful state
- Time orientation – another reality check can be orienting yourself with time. If you’re dreaming, the time will keep on changing but if you’re awake, the time will change as usual; not in a weird way
- Breathing checks – This is one of the most popular reality checks that is done by closing your nose with fingers and seeing if you can still breathe. IF you are able to breathe normally, it means you ‘re dreaming; and if not then you are in a waking state of awareness
Sleep experts recommend that it is important to do at least one reality check several times in a day. This helps you to repeat such checks while you’re dreaming. This helps to induce lucid dreams.
5. Wake back to bed technique (WBTB)
This popular mild technique of lucid dreaming involves waking up sometime in the night and then returning back to sleep after being awake for a certain amount of time.
This induces the probability of lucid dreams by scheduling alarms to increase your chances of getting up during a REM sleep stage.
If you had been dreaming and you woke up after the alarm rings, you are more likely to see the same dream when you return back to sleep again.
In this technique you will have to set an alarm 5 to 6 hours after you fall asleep. After the alarm goes off, you will have to stay awake for 30 to 6o minutes. At this time you are advised to record the dream narratives as much as you remember. Then again go to sleep as usual.
This technique induces lucid dreaming and the person will be able to recall the details of the dream scenario but this technique is not always recommended because disrupting REM sleep can result in sleep deprivation and can cause serious health issues and mental health problems. So use it with caution.
6. Try going back to sleep again
If you wake up from a dream in the middle of the night, stay in bed and try to fall asleep again. You can write down anything in the dream journal if you want. Then close your eyes and try to sleep again.
Focus on what you were previously seeing and play the dream again in the subconscious. This is a technique commonly used to induce lucid dreams.
7. Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)
LaBerge, 1980 created an inducing technique for lucid dreams known as MILD, meaning Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams for the first time. This is a scientific method used in research done on lucid dreaming.
The MILD technique is based on prospective memory that helps you to set an intention of doing something later when the need arises.
Here, you use the technique to set a reminder that you were dreaming. The MILD technique has a few steps that you need to follow such as every night before falling asleep, repeat to yourself the same phrase like the one “I know when I dream, I see a bird flying.”
This phrase will rewire your brain in such a way that when the dream starts, your subconscious will remind you of the phrase and you will know that you’re dreaming.
This rule will encourage the brain to be conscious when the dream happens, and it will increase your chances of having a lucid dream.
8. Video gaming
A study done in 2006 had shown that video gaming is related with better recall of dreams. The connection has been established on an assumption that video games are usually connected to fictional characters who are seen in a vibrant and dynamic world where the player has some control over the game.
Likewise the study established a relationship between these gaming techniques and lucid dreaming. As the mind remains active while going to sleep, it has a better likelihood of getting lucid dreaming and active dream recall after waking up.
9. External stimulation
In this technique some external stimuli such as flashing a light alarm is used to induce lucid dreams. You can set it a few hours after you first go to sleep or set it to go off every hour, if you wish.
Like sound and touch stimuli, a light alarm can make the dreamer realize that they were dreaming.
You will have to put it at arm’s reach and preferably cover it with a sheet or cloth to dim the light. The purpose of this method is to wake you up at REM sleep stage, then follow the wake back to bed method and continue with conscious dreaming all over again.
10. Avoid screen time before falling asleep
You should turn off all electronic gadgets at least an hour before retiring to bed. Make a bedtime routine that is calm and peaceful and helps you relax.
A relaxed body means relaxed mind and this increases melatonin (sleep hormone) that helps you to sleep well.
This process helps to trigger lucid dreams as you get long night time sleep with intermittent REM stages that increases the probability of having dreams.
Benefits of Lucid dreaming (10 powerful strengths to reckon)
In waking life, lucid dreams are found to have many benefits. They have therapeutic effects. A few of them are discussed here:
1. Less anxiety and better emotional control
Lucid dreaming helps to reduce the anxiety that may arise out of having nightmares. As we know people suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders are more prone to worries and insecurities during a dream state.
Lucid dreams help them to control the dream narratives and makes them realize that the fear involved in the process is not real; it’s a dream. The nightmare that is causing the intense emotions is not happening in reality, but it is just a virtual experience.
Lucid dreaming is used for therapy in IRT (imagery rehearsal therapy) where the therapist helps the person to imagine a dream theme, usually a fearful element to make them consciously think of it to reduce the anxiety accruing from it.
This process actually reduces the fear and makes the person feel better.
In a lab study done in 2017, 33 military veterans with PTSD were exposed to recurring nightmares through CBT and IRT. The results showed higher dream control because of better recall of the fearful elements in the dream.
The participants identified the reasons for their fears through lucid dreaming that actually helped them to control the excessive anxiety and worries in waking life.
This method helped them to confront their deepest fears in a controlled set up and reduce the nightmare induced stress that they were suffering from.
2. Improves motor skills
Lucid dreams help in the physical rehabilitation of patients suffering from motor disabilities. The process suggests that people suffering from physical disabilities can practice different motor skills while dreaming and can actually use them in real-life situations as well.
3. Refine problem solving abilities
Lucid dreams can improve a person’s problem-solving abilities. It’s a kind of mental exercise that helps you to rehearse things while dreaming and later use it in waking life easily. When you act things out in a lucid dream state, you rewire your brain to think and act in specific ways.
Scientific studies suggest that if you practice problem-solving in dreams, you have a good chance of doing it in reality as well.
4. Dispel phobias and anxiousness
Lucid dreams can help remove symptoms of phobia. Psychotherapists combine CBT with IRT techniques in dreams to recreate scenes that bring the person into face-to-face interaction with the feared element. When you face your fears in dreams, you know it’s not real.
This idea stays in the conscious mind even when you are awake. You can dispel the fear easily by slowly approaching the feared element in waking life. You no longer allow your fears and anxieties to take control over you.
5. Boosts creativity
Lucid dreams can boost creativity by helping you to flex out your imaginative skills. You will know how far your dream can take you. It helps you to think in diverse ways to solve real-life problems. You actually learn to think out of the box.
Lucid dreams are conscious dreams that help in emotional healing. It helps you to revisit your past wounds in your unconscious mind that never got a chance to be revealed in reality.
It gives you an opportunity to see your shadow or inner ‘self’ that may need some kind of healing and cleansing.
7. Self introspection
In lucid dreams, you are aware of your inner world. It gives you an insight and clarity of who you are and what is your purpose in life. It is an introspective process to delve deeper into an inner world of imaginative mysteries.
While dreaming the mind is free of inhibitions and restrictions. It is allowed to see every truth freely that may not be allowed to become a part of real life.
Moreover the conscious awareness in lucid dreams can help you to engage in higher vibrational activities such as telepathy, remote viewing, communication with spirit guides etc.
Lucid dreams also help in developing our intuitive minds. You can harness your instinctual knowledge and wisdom freely because during dreams your conscious mind cannot hijack the intuition with a false ego. It is natural and explorative by nature.
9. Amusing and funny
Lucid dreams are fun-loving experiences as it gives you a chance to fulfill all those weird things that might not be possible in real life. You can walk through walls or a rope, fall from a cliff without getting hurt.
You may also see yourself climbing a mountain effortlessly; or flying up in the sky.
10. Self development tool
Lucid dreaming is a powerful tool for realizing life goals by setting right intentions and dispel negativity away from your conscious mind. It gives you a safe space to explore your inner world.
The dreams are a wonderful way to remove all the deepest fears, anxieties, and insecurities that may rob your inner happiness, peace of mind, and make you feel confined in negativity and despair.
You will get to know the deepest truths about yourself in an unfiltered way and that helps in goal accomplishment. It gives you all the tools that you may need to liberate yourself from the bondage of negative thinking.
You are free to explore new opportunities that can guide you to hone your skills, perfect your talents, boost creativity and problem solving and create a life of your choice.
Dangers of lucid dreaming
There are certain disadvantages of frequent lucid dreaming that need to be taken care of to reap its benefits. It has been proved in scientific studies that the cons of lucid dreaming are not at all dangerous.
It may induce some initial discomfort as you are new to such an experience but with practice, it eases out fast and helps you take better control of your imaginative mind. It doesn’t pose any threat to waking life. Some of them are as follows:
- Lucid dreaming can cause poor sleep quality and other sleep problems. It may lead to sleep deprivation and cause long term health hazards like high blood pressure, problems in falling sleep or staying asleep.
- This type of dreaming may cause delirium, confusion, hallucination in people suffering from some mental disorders or specific sleep disorders. It may blur the line between reality and figments of imagination.
- Sometimes people may feel stuck in their lucid dreams and may find it difficult to wake up, but the truth of the fact is this is just a myth. Humans cannot remain in their sleep state for a very long time, unless there are some underlying medical issues. Thus dreams are bound to get over sooner or later.
- The most common downside of lucid dreaming as reported by patients is sleep paralysis. It is the inability to move the different body parts while dreaming. Whenever you enter a REM sleep, you are bound to experience this phenomenon because as the brain is in an alert state, the body gets into a state of immobility and paralysis so as to prevent you from acting out in your dreams.
- Just like any other dreams, lucid dreaming can also have a fear element connected with it, but the experience is less frightening because the dreamer knows how to control the emotions. Common lucid dreams that may cause nightmares are dreaming of blood, falling dreams, dreams about flying etc.
- Emotions run high during lucid dreams in varying degrees though most dreamers do not feel overwhelmed because they know that what’s happening in front is not a real world; it’s just a freaky dream.
- Individuals diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, or acute depression may have difficulty with lucid dreaming. It may be harder for them to distinguish between what is real in the dream and what is fantasy.
What can you really do in lucid dreams?
Lucid dreams are dreams with clarity and awareness. Thus you can do anything you like or have wished for a long time. All your hidden wishes may come true in dreams; if not in reality. Happy. Right?
- You may visit an unknown land or country. A perfect holiday destination to a land of wilderness.
- Floating on air and seeing the stars
- A opportunity to meet your spirit guides
- Visiting an alien land
- Seeing the zombies for the first time, knowing how they look; Right?
- You can meet your hurtful inner child
- Seeing wild animals moving all around you
Lucid dreaming tips
Living your dream consciously is an amazing experience that goes beyond words. There is a lot of fear about lucid dreaming and many people think that it is dangerous and unpleasant though no scientific studies have claimed such a thing in reality.
You can follow some tips for a pleasant dream experience. Some of them are as follows:
- If you experience a genuine fear and unpleasantness while having a lucid dream, just stay calm and remind yourself that the vision is not true; it’s just a dream.
- You should have a check on how much to experience a lucid dream. Use moderation in practicing it, if you are getting sleep paralysis in your dreams.
- Be mindful of your dream experiences. You can reflect on the dream narratives after waking up. This gives you better insight into your subconscious workings.
- Do not resist what you are visualizing in the dream. Let it run smoothly, good or bad. You can submit into the process fully and think that it’s all going fine.
- Follow a good sleep schedule so that you can have more REM sleep
How to have a wet lucid dream?
A wet lucid dream is one that brings sexual arousal in the dream state and can cause orgasm in women and sexual arousal in men leading to involuntary nocturnal emission either in dreams or after waking up. This is erotic lucid dreaming and happened to be quite common. Sometimes these dreams surface due to some problems in relationships in waking life. Such as:
- Feeling attracted towards someone in real life
- Unmet sexual needs and desires
- Admiring someone and feeling deeply for them
Many people have reported orgasms while they sleep, especially if the dream imagery consists of a loved one. They may start fantasizing about the person and feel sexually attracted towards them.
During REM sleep, the body behaves similarly to a wakeful state showing more physiological activity.
Thus blood supply to the pelvis increases causing arousal and orgasm, without waking up. Sometimes the dreamer wakes up in such a state and can recall that they were dreaming about some erotic imageries.
Sometimes lucid wet dreams can happen spontaneously, while at times the dreamer may induce such a dream to experience more pleasure out of the dream theme. If you want to have lucid wet dreams, you may use few strategies that could help:
- Wear some sexy clothes that goes well with the mood
- Place soft linens on the bed that are comfortable and helps you sleep well
- Create a sexy atmosphere by playing a soothing and romantic music
- Imagine your loved one and arouse your erotic desires for them virtually
- Read an erotic book or watch some videos that sets the right mood
- Your bedroom should be well organized and neat, so that the mess around you does not distract you from your thoughts.
- You may also spray some scent around the room or light up a scented candle to decorate the room and make it apt for the purpose.
- Maintain a journal and note down your erotic and sensuous feelings after you wake up from the dream.
How to lucid dream for beginners?
Lucid dreams are a mysterious world of self-exploration where you are aware and conscious of what you are visualizing in the dream. The steps and techniques used in such dreams actually help the dreamer to control what the dream unfolds and its associated emotions.
You can use a beginner’s guide to trigger lucid dreams and practice it regularly before you become a pro. Some ways that might be helpful for you include:
- Follow a good sleep hygiene and set the right tone in bedroom to experience such dreams
- You can meditate and calm down your random and intrusive thoughts as much as possible
- Keep away from caffeine before going to bed
- Use dim lightings and no chaos set up to experience such a unique dream
- Switch off electronic gadgets before going to bed
- Use a dream journal to note down the dream details and your associated feelings with it
- Do regular reality checks
- Use MILD technique
- Try the wake back to bed technique for inducing lucid dreams. It also helps in proper recall after waking up.
How to stop lucid dreaming?
Though many people want to experience lucid dreaming, it’s not always that easy. When you experience intense sensations during a spontaneous dream process, you may find it a little uncomfortable and would prefer to stop it from happening again.
Sometimes the experience is scary and frightening and you do not want to replay the dream theme in your mind again. In such a situation, you should try to stop it. But how to do it?
Sometimes if your dreams are too bothersome, you may seek medical advice from a psychiatrist or a certified therapist. There are a few simple ways that can help to reduce the occurrence of such a dream.
1. Sleep on your sides
Many of you must have noticed that you get lucid dreams with strange visions if you sleep on your back. It happens because lucid dreaming is related to an out-of-body experience.
Thus, you may feel like floating, flying, falling, or seeing slithering snakes or spiders all around you. These dream objects will scare you in no time and your lucid dreaming experience can actually turn out to be a nightmare.
Thus if you sleep on the sides, you are less likely to experience such a phenomenon. Moreover, sleeping on the sides also helps to avoid sleep paralysis. However, if sleep paralysis strikes in, stay calm and remind yourself that this will pass soon and you are just dreaming.
2. Develop a proper sleep schedule
Lucid dreamers go through sleep disturbances because they get up so many times during the night.
You can stop the recurrence of such dreams by following a proper schedule. Reset your sleep schedule by going to bed at a particular time and waking up at the same time. This will indeed stop lucid dreams to a great extent.
3. Avoid caffeine, alcohol
Alcohol and caffeine are sleep inhibitors. These substances can mess up your sleep schedule causing frequent wakeups.
You may even have problems with falling asleep or staying asleep. You are advised to cut down consumption of these substances hours before going to bed.
4. Sleep meditation
Practice sleep meditation to calm down your senses and get rid of negative and intrusive thoughts before retiring to bed. This will help you to follow a regular sleep schedule also without waking up in the middle of the night.
5. Keep away from electronic gadgets
Refrain yourself from watching videos or listening to any audio cover before going to sleep. Keep yourself calm and in a peaceful state of mind, so that the frequency of lucid dreams can be reduced.
How to wake up from lucid dreams?
Some tried and tested ways to wake up from your lucid dreams are:
- Call out someone for help by yelling or screaming in dreams. It signals your brain that it’s time to wake up. Sometimes this also wakes you up in reality
- If you know that it’s just a dream, however uncomfortable it may be, try continue with your sleep as usual, so that you get up at the right time
- Repeated blinking of eyes while you’re aware in your dreams can actually wake you up
Myths of lucid dreaming
There are few myths attached with lucid dreams that need to be debunked to clear away the mysteries surrounding the actual phenomenon.
1. One can dream lucidly all night long
This is a myth because lucid dreams can occur only in REM sleep when the mind is active and agile. The first REM stage starts after 90 minutes of falling asleep and it lasts for 10 minutes.
Usually, as the night goes by, the dreams may appear longer but it does happen intermittently with periods of NREM sleep.
You cannot have dreams all night long. Experts say that lucid dreams can even exhaust your body. The deeper the sleep is, the more pronounced the dreams will be.
2. You may feel stuck in your dreams and cannot come out of it
This is just a fantasy and no real evidence supports this myth. As already said that lucid dreams cannot happen for a long time, probably you think that you are dreaming for a long time.
So there is no way that you will remain stuck in a fantasy world of dreams. You will wake up sooner or later.
3. Lucid dreams are not real
This myth has been proven wrong by many types of research done on lucid dreams. There are many people who experience such dreams spontaneously without inducing them.
4. A spiritual person gets more lucid dreams
Lucid dreaming can happen to anyone even in children without inducing it. You do not have to be a spiritual being in order to have a lucid dream. This is a myth that has no scientific proof attached to it. A lot of people can dream consciously and effortlessly.
5. Lucid dreams can be fully controlled
No dreams cannot be controlled fully and lucid dreaming is not an exception in this. It requires years of practice.
Your imaginations and characters, the plot of the dream may feel controllable but sometimes things happen on their own and you are just a bystander in the process. You are a viewer of what’s happening in the dream.
6. Lucid dreams are risky
No lucid dreams are not risky. Though your emotions run high during the process you are safe. In reality, nobody has been found injured or died while lucid dreaming.
This is a myth that has been created to induce fear and insecurity among people; just to scare them about a natural phenomenon of sleep and dreaming.
Is lucid dreaming bad?
Lucid dreaming is considered safe but it may lead to serious sleep deprivation. Moreover, the process can pose a serious threat to the psychological well-being of people who are already suffering from some kind of mental illness.
These people can suffer from dissociation where the thin line between fantasy and the real world fades. This may intensify their behavioral problems and can cause sleep paralysis also.
Is lucid dreaming real?
Though it may sound weird and crazy, lucid dreams are real. Several empirical findings have suggested that lucid dreams are possible and the dreamer can actively participate in the process of dreaming.
The video link shared below shows the concept of lucid dreams. Do check out.
Lucid dreams goes little beyond normal dreaming as it allows the dreamer to navigate through the process of dreaming and remember the snippets of the dream theme as clearly as possible. The process has more pros attached to it.
It can be used as a therapy and treat conditions related to PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety. You may try different techniques to induce such a fascinating experience but beware of its downside as well.
After all, we want to keep only the sweet memories of our dreams with us. Let the dreams and reality collide and create a pleasant experience that is amazing and worth remembering.
Chandrani is a former school psychologist and teacher by profession. She is a post graduate in Applied psychology with focus in clinical and health domains. Her passion for writing, kindled during school days have now become a full time freelancing endeavor. For her, writing is cathartic and keeps her mentally agile. Her lovable niches includes psychology, parenting, spirituality, lifestyle, and love and relationships. Her work depicts her perspectives about various experiences that she came across; unleashed a richer and deeper meaning of life. "Let me leave an aftertaste in the minds of few, if not many who need to find a path of absolute bliss, happiness, and inner peace."