The purpose behind our dreams has been debated since the dawn of time. Do the dreams we have mean something? Can we predict the future in our dreams? Is it our subconscious tuning into the depths of the universe? Or simply a bunch of random signals being fired off by our subconscious with absolutely no rhyme or reason? The answers to these questions are still actively debated and different specialists and students of dreams still speculate why we dream and what our dreams mean.
Today however, we are going to be looking into a very specific kind of dreaming that is different from most, lucid dreams. We will go over what lucid dreaming is, whether or not it can help you sleep better, and how you can try it for yourself. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Lucid Dreaming?
A lucid dream is when someone can become aware that they are dreaming, without waking up from that dream. It also is commonly defined as when a person is consciously in control of what happens in their dreams, while they remain asleep.
Some people are born with the ability to experience lucid dreaming, while others have to practice different techniques in order to start lucid dreams. Within lucid dreams, not only are you able to control your own actions, but also the environment of your dreams as well.
How Does Lucid Dreaming Work?
Lucid dreaming, like most dreaming, typically occurs during a REM phase of sleep. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, phase of sleep is a very deep phase of sleep. Typically you will go in and out of several phases of REM sleep each with these phases lasting 10 minutes and increasing up to an hour in length. Although dreams can feel like they last much longer than this.
Lucid Dreaming & Nightmares:
One of the most common things that peak peoples interest in lucid dreaming is having issues with nightmares. Having chronic or recurring nightmares can leave you feeling restless and helpless. How are you supposed to prevent something from happening when it is only occurring in your subconscious? Well, that is where lucid dreaming steps in. Being able to react and make conscious decisions in your dreams while you sleep is an incredibly empowering tool.
Once you are able to initiate a lucid dream, this becomes incredibly useful for anyone who struggles with nightmares. If you are in the middle of the nightmare the first thing you want to do is bring awareness to the fact that what is happening is not real and is in fact a dream. (Dream reality checks are a fun way to do this, we will get into what they are later on in the blog.) At this point, you can either choose to wake up out of the dream, or you can stay in the dream and change the circumstances of said dream.
For example, if you are in the middle of a nightmare where you have no teeth (this is a common nightmare by the way) then you can dream that you simply and painlessly grow your teeth back. It is all up to you and your imagination.
How To Experience Lucid Dreams:
Dream Reality Checks:
A common practice used during a lucid dream is to do a reality check. In this practice you attempt something that could not be accomplished in real life. For example, press your fingertips into the palm of your palm and see if you can pass through your palm. Or jump up as high as you can and see if you can levitate.
These dream reality checks allow for you to start lucid dreaming with a small task or test. After you accomplish this you are already in a lucid dream, the options are endless. If you were in a nightmare, you can do anything you like to get out of that nightmare. You could fly away to Paris, or have tea with your grandmother, or go play basketball with Michael Jordan and beat him.
This is the beauty of having a reality test, it can be small and opens up a world of possibilities.
Keep a Dream Journal:
Whenever you wake up in the morning, or even in the middle of the night, quickly jot down the dream that you had. Try to be as detailed as possible. It is important to do this as soon as you wake up because we often forget our dreams quickly.
By keeping a dream journal you are flexing your ability to recall your dreams and intern becoming more aware of the dreams when you are having them. Which can then make it easier to realize you are in a dream while you are having it.
Before you head to sleep tell yourself over and over again that you will have a lucid dream tonight. Imagine what it will be like when you lucid dream, and tell yourself that it will happen.
This is especially effective if you wake up in the middle of the night and tell yourself you will have a lucid dream before falling back asleep. This is due to the fact that you are more likely to sleep back into a REM cycle much faster in the middle of the night than when you first fall asleep.
Lucid Dreaming Supplements:
Like most things… there’s a pill for that! So they say. We take this with a grain of salt, but several supplements are available to help you trigger lucid dreaming. If you are looking for a quick start to creating a quicker route to lucid dreams you could try Dream Leaf Pro Supplement or Lucid Dreaming and Nootropic Supplement.
Learn more about this phenomenon in the book Lucid Dreaming: A Gateway to the Inner Self.
Lucid Dreaming Techniques:
Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD)
This version of lucid dreaming occurs during the hypnagogic stage. Which is the point between being awake and fully asleep. It is when you are able to have hypnagogic hallucinations in which you maintain consciousness. In plain terms, you are falling asleep and not yet in a REM cycle, yet you experiencing dreams while maintaining lucidity and control over what is happening within the dream.
Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dreams (MILD)
This is a process where before you go to sleep, you tell yourself that you will have a lucid dream tonight. This is a form of manifestation, if you believe in these sorts of things. The best time to do this is either right before you do to sleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and are heading back to sleep. MILD uses Auto-Suggestion with a focus on manifesting their lucid dreaming.
Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)
The WBTB lucid dreaming process starts with waking up around 5 hours after you went to sleep initially. As you go back to sleep, you will be more likely to enter a REM state while holding onto your consciousness. One way to help encourage this is by using the MILD technique and tell yourself that you will now have a lucid dream.
Combine The Techniques:
Different studies have shown that by combining different lucid dreaming initiating techniques together can be highly effective. So don’t be shy to try out or combine a number of different techniques. This can be helpful if you are trying to initiate lucid dreaming.
Can Lucid Dreaming Help You Sleep?
Lucid dreaming can absolutely help you sleep. This is especially true for anyone who experiences frequent nightmares. A bad dream can cause you to wake up and can be emotionally taxing, making it difficult to go back to sleep. Frightening or upsetting dreams can even make the process of heading to sleep difficult. When you are able to control your dreams, this can eliminate this struggle completely.
Not only can lucid dreaming help you to get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night. It can also turn sleep into an exciting and liberating experience. Which can encourage a healthier sleep schedule.
Can Anyone Have Lucid Dreams?
Technically yes, anyone who has an active mind and dreams is able to have a lucid dream. Although it seems to be much easier for some than others. Studies have been done on those who easily or have even found lucid dreaming on their own vs those who struggle to have lucid dreams even when they try.
It is not universally agreed on why some people find it particularly easy to have lucid dreams while others struggle with it. However, the brain is a wildly powerful organ that can do amazing things. If you are struggling to have lucid dreams, don’t buy into the thought process that some people simply “can’t have lucid dreams”. Instead keep practicing different techniques and have patience with yourself.
Lucid Dreaming – Final Thoughts:
Being able to become aware that you are having a dream in the middle of it, can be very helpful. Especially if you have trouble with nightmares. The power of a nightmare can diminish quickly after you become aware that what you are experiencing is not physically happening to you in this moment. If you then become able to either wake yourself up out of the dream or control the dream entirely, this can become a rather exhilarating experience. Lucid dreams can take a lot of practice (months and even years) so if you are not having any luck, keep trying and have patience.
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