Updated at: 14-04-2022 - By: Jane Brody

During lucid dreams, the sleeper is aware a dream is taking place but will not leave the dream state. Some go so far as to say that these are dreams in which the sleeper has control over various aspects of their surroundings, although research has shown that this is not always the case and that some people are more prone to “lucid dream control” than others.

Although the sleeper is aware that they are dreaming, they are unable to wake up from their trance. However, studies have shown that this is not always the case and that some people are prone to “lucid dream control” more than others, some people further define these phenomena as dreams in which the sleeper exercises influence over various aspects of their surroundings.

How Do Lucid Dreams Work?

Although the sleeper is aware that they are dreaming, they are unable to wake up from the dream. Some go so far as to say that these are dreams in which the sleeper has control over various aspects of their surroundings, although research has shown that this is not always the case and that some persons are inclined to “lucid dream control” more than others.

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Sleepers who have lucid dreams are acutely aware of the fact that they are having a dream and are able to exert some degree of influence over their environment. These features may be associated with increased brain activity, according to some research. Prefrontal brain activity levels during lucid dreaming are comparable to those reported in sleepers during lucid dreaming investigations. As a result, a “hybrid sleep-wake state” could be used to describe lucid dreaming.

A number of studies have revealed that the majority of lucid dreaming occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. There are four stages in a typical sleep cycle: non-rapid eye movement (NREM), rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and the REM state. Non-lucid dreams are the most common source of the lucid dream, according to most researchers nowadays. As such, lucidity is a characteristic of dreams that can be triggered by several methods.

How Are Lucid Dreams Studied?

Few people have ever experienced a spontaneous lucid dream, which can be difficult to predict. Researchers use a variety of approaches to produce lucid dreams in order to explore these phenomena. The following are some of the most prevalent methods:

  • Tests that distinguish between sleep and wakefulness are required of participants in this method. A participant may, for example, wonder if they are dreaming during the day; as self-awareness is impossible in non-lucid dreams, being able to answer this question demonstrates they are awake. On the theory that repeating tests will ultimately infiltrate into the participant’s dreams, allowing them to discern between their waking life and their dreams, reality testing is predicated on this idea
  • To induce lucid dreams (MILD), a person trains themselves to distinguish between their dreams and the real world while they sleep. People who have been sleeping for a while repeat the remark, “Next time I’ll remember I’m dreaming,” when they awaken. Subjects will be awakened after five hours of sleep to induce lucid dreams utilizing the MILD approach.
  • This approach, which involves getting up in the middle of the night and then going back to sleep after a specified amount of time has elapsed, can help some people achieve lucid dreams. MILD is frequently used with WBTB when performing a procedure. The most efficient interval between waking up and going back to sleep appears to be 30 to 120 minutes when these two strategies are combined.
  • Flashing lights and other stimuli are activated when the person is in REM sleep in order to induce arousal. This strategy is based on the idea that the sleeper will assimilate this stimulus into their dreams, resulting in clarity in the process.

Additionally, some research has focused on the use of various medications and substances to induce lucid dreams.

Researchers can use an electroencephalogram (EEG), in which metal discs are attached to the person’s scalp during an EEG, to evaluate levels of activity in the prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain after the subject has fallen asleep. Eye movements can also be tracked using an electrooculogram (EOG) to determine whether the person is in REM sleep. Certain eye movements can be used to indicate that a person is having a lucid dream in some studies. For the detection of these movements, EOGs are extremely useful.

Are Lucid Dreams Good or Bad For You?

Self-induced lucid dreams have become increasingly popular in recent years. Wish fulfillment, overcoming fear, and healing are among the most prevalent reasons for producing lucid dreams. Inducing lucid dreams has been linked to lessening the anxiety and suffering that comes with having nightmares, according to some research.

However, whether or not causing lucid dreams is good for one’s mental health is up for discussion. Research suggests that having lucid dreams can have long-term harmful effects on one’s mental health since it purposely blurs the border between dream and reality. For some populations, such as those suffering from PTSD, lucid dream therapy has been found to be unsuccessful.

Another issue with lucid dreams, according to some researchers, is that they can be disturbing to sleep. Since lucid dreams have been linked to higher levels of brain activity, it has been hypothesized that vivid dreams may affect sleep quality and sleep hygiene negatively. Sleep-wake cycles may be rearranged by frequent lucid dreams, which could impact emotional regulation, memory consolidation, and other elements of daily living associated to sleep health. Narcoleptics are also more prone to have vivid dreams because of their excessive daytime tiredness and reluctance to go to sleep.

The field of lucid dream research is still in its infancy. There has to be more research done to better understand these types of dreams and find out why certain people are more likely to have frequent and powerful lucid dreams than others.

What causes lucid dreams to happen?

Again, there is a dearth of evidence, which makes it difficult to determine exactly how lucid dreams occur, says Dr. Roth. However, they are most common in the REM stage of sleep. It’s during REM sleep, according to Dr. Roth, when your dreams are the most vivid. If you were to do a sleep study, your brain’s activity during REM sleep resembles that of an awake person.”

The frequency of lucid dreams may be affected by sleep problems or interruptions in REM sleep.

Patients with narcolepsy experienced more lucid dreams than the research’s control group, according to one study. Lucid dreaming may be caused by “a change in brain activity in the direction of wakefulness” during “REM sleep dreaming,” creating a hybrid state that has “elements of both REM sleep and waking,” another study found.

For the time being, no one knows what causes lucid dreams, or even why some individuals experience them while others do not.

How To Lucid Dream For Beginners In 7 Easy Steps | Positive Creators

How To Lucid Dream?

Using lucid dreaming techniques helps you become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings. Additionally, they’re made to assist you stay awake during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of the sleeping process.

1. Wake-initiated lucid dreaming (WILD)

During a wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD), you are able to enter a dream while you are still awake and conscious. WILD is claimed to keep your mind awake even as your body sleeps.

Until you’ve had a hypnagogic hallucination, or a hallucination that comes as you’re ready to sleep, you’ll need to lie down and let go. Despite WILD’s simplicity, learning it is a daunting task.

WILD is more likely if you use the other lucid dreaming induction strategies as well.

2. Reality testing

As a sort of mental training, reality testing, or reality checking, is used. It improves metacognition by making you more aware of your own thoughts and feelings.

In both waking and dreaming phases, you have the same level of metacognition. It’s possible that having a higher level of metacognition when waking can lead to a higher level of metacognition while dreaming.

Prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in both reality testing and lucid dreaming, may be involved here. To enhance your metacognition, you can do reality tests while you’re awake.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is involved in both reality testing and lucid dreaming, may have something to do with this. Metacognition can be improved by performing “reality tests” while you’re still wide awake.

  1. Ask yourself if you’re dreaming: “Are you kidding me?”
  2. If you’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep, take a look around you.
  3. Observe how you’re interacting with your surroundings and how you’re thinking about them.

Every two to three hours, you can set an alarm to remind you to take a reality check.

Some frequent reality tests for lucid dreaming include:

  • Mirrors. Take a glance in the mirror and see if it’s in good shape.
  • Stable things. See if you can get your hand through a wall or a table. To some, it feels natural to press their fingers against the palm on the other side of theirs.
  • Hands. Your hands tell a lot about who you are. They appear to be normal, don’t they?
  • Time. It is impossible to keep track of time in a dream. The time will scarcely shift if you’re awake.
  • Breathing. Pinching your nose and checking to see whether you can breathe is a common way to get a dose of reality. Is it possible that you’re still breathing?

Pick one reality check and perform it several times a day, according to the experts. Training your mind to perform reality checks while dreaming might lead to lucid dreams.

3. Wake back to bed (WBTB)

WBTB is a method of entering REM sleep while still awake.

WBTB comes in various forms, but here’s one to consider:

  1. After you’ve gone to bed, set a timer for five hours later.
  2. Take a normal night’s rest.
  3. Make it 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Reading can be a peaceful pastime.
  4. Retire to your bed.

You’ll have a better chance of having a lucid dream if you go back to sleep. Do something that takes your whole attention when you’re awake.

4. Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams is a technique developed by LaBerge in the year 1980. (MILD). An early way for making dreams more vivid was the application of findings from scientific studies.

Prospective memory is a type of memory in which one sets a goal to do something in the future.

When you’re in MILD, you set out to remember that you’re actually sleeping.

Using the MILD method is as easy as the following:

  1. Think on a recent dream before you go to sleep.
  2. Recognize a “dreamsign,” or something unusual or out of the ordinary that occurred throughout the dream. Flying is one such example.
  3. Consider going back to sleep. Recognize that a dreamsign can only appear when you’re actually sleeping.
  4. I want to be aware that I’m dreaming the next time around..” Make a mental recitation of the phrase.

After waking up in the middle of a dream, you can also practice MILD. In general, this is a good idea because it allows you to wake up with the dream still fresh in your mind.

A SPECIAL ADVICE FOR YOU

Real-world testing, WBTB, and MILD are the most effective methods, according to a study. WBTB and MILD can be combined by setting an alarm for five hours from now. Practice MILD as long as you’re awake.

5. Keeping a dream journal

Lucid dreaming can be triggered by writing down your dreams in a journal or diary. The act of recording your dreams forces you to recall the details of each one. Supposedly, it might assist you better recognize your dreams and increase your apprehension of them.

As soon as you wake up, write down your dreams. In addition, it’s a good idea to read your dream notebook on a regular basis.

Reality testing

Reality testing is a continuous practice of assessing the “reality” of your surroundings. Pushing against a solid object, staring into a mirror, or even trying to breathe through a squeezed nose are all examples of this. For this experiment, the idea is that if one does this enough when awake, they’ll also do it in their dreams. When they do, they’ll be able to tell if they are dreaming or not.

Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)

The MILD approach involves leveraging your intention to remember to do something in the future; in this case, remembering your dreaming. As soon as you get out of bed, recall your most recent dream and repeat the command “the next time I’m dreaming, I’ll know I’m dreaming,” which is a common practice.

How to wake up

The MILD approach involves leveraging your intention to remember to do something in the future; in this case, remembering your dreaming. As soon as you get out of bed, recall your most recent dream and repeat the command “the next time I’m dreaming, I’ll know I’m dreaming,” which is a common practice.

Try the following methods to wake from a lucid dream

  • The MILD technique is based on the idea that remembering your dreams is something you want to do in the future. When you wake up from a long night’s sleep, it’s common to recite a variant of the command “the next time I’m dreaming, I’ll know I’m dreaming.”
  • Blink. Blinking several times during the night may help your mind prepare for waking up.
  • Go to sleep and wake up in a dream. The best way to wake up after a night of dreaming is to go to sleep in your sleep.
  • Read. In your sleep, try to decipher words on a sign or a page from a book. The brain’s non-REM regions may be stimulated as a result of this.

External stimuli

Devices that send external stimuli to a person when they are in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep are another option. As a researcher, my goal is to observe if any of these stimuli are incorporated into the dream and whether or not they can cause the sleeper to become more aware of what they’re dreaming about.

Benefits

This type of lucid dreaming may have therapeutic benefits. The following are possible benefits of lucid dreaming.

Overcome nightmares

The occasional nightmare is nothing out of the ordinary. Anxiety and tension may be caused by recurring dreams.

They’re frequently linked to:

  • trauma-related stress disorder (PTSD) (PTSD)
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • stress
  • disruptions in sleep, such as insomnia
  • medication
  • usage of drugs and alcohol

By allowing the dreamer to take control of the dream, lucid dreaming may help. Another benefit of realizing one’s dream state is the ability to distinguish between genuine and unreal experiences.

Lucid dreaming is often used in imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT). In IRT, a therapist helps you reimagine a recurring nightmare with a different, more pleasant storyline.

Lucid dreaming is often used in imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT). In IRT, a therapist helps you reimagine a recurring nightmare with a different, more pleasant storyline.

In imagery rehearsal treatment, lucid dreaming is frequently employed (IRT). In IRT, a therapist works with you to create a new scenario for a recurring nightmare.

Relieve anxiety

Research on PTSD and nightmare-induced anxiety dominates the scientific literature. Anecdotal data suggests that lucid dreaming may be able to reduce the effects of other types of worry.

Controlling your dreams is said to be a way for people to deal with stressful situations.

Improve motor skills

Physical recovery may be helped by lucid dreaming. According to a study published in 2013, practicing motor skills mentally could improve one’s physical capacity to perform them.

As a result, people with physical limitations may be able to practice motor skills in their dreams while experiencing lucidity. They think that even those who do not have physical limitations could benefit from lucid dreaming in order to improve their hand-eye coordination.

What is Lucid Dreaming, and How Can I Lucid Dream? | Longevity

Cautions

Induction tactics are generally responsible for any lucid dreaming dangers.

Among the potential drawbacks:

  • Sleep apnea and insomnia. Wake up in the middle of the night is a part of WBTB and MILD. A sleep disorder or an erratic sleep cycle might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep because of these frequent disruptions.
  • Derealization. Derealization, or the belief that the people, things, and surroundings around you aren’t real, can be brought on by sleep difficulties.
  • Depression. Depressive symptoms may be exacerbated by the sleep disturbances of induction procedures.
  • Involuntary arousal from sleep. Sleep paralysis can bring on brief yet disturbing episodes of lucid dreaming. In addition, sleep deprivation raises the possibility of developing sleep paralysis.

Are lucid dreams bad for you?

Lucid dreams are difficult to evaluate because there is no empirical evidence to back up the claim that they are harmful to a person’s well-being. Lucid dreamers, on the other hand, may suffer from sleep deprivation, which can impact alertness and memory, as well as increase the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

When to see a doctor

If you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • common nightmarish experiences
  • dreams that frequently interrupt slumber
  • dread of falling asleep
  • Recollections of a terrible event
  • a shift in mood
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • a hard time falling asleep

Mental health issues, PTSD, or sleep disorders may be to blame for these signs. Your therapist can help you decide if lucid dreaming therapy is correct for your situation.

The bottom line

This type of dreaming is known as lucid dreaming. You have a lot of power on the plot and setting of your dreams. REM sleep is when this happens.

PTSD and recurrent nightmares can both benefit from the therapeutic use of lucid dreaming. It’s possible, according to some researchers, that it could help with physical recovery.

Try the methods described above if you want to experience lucid dreaming. These techniques can help you become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings as you sleep.

Sleep disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health issues should be evaluated by your doctor.

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