Lucid Dreams: A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid. Lucid dreaming has been studied and reported for many years.
Prominent figures from ancient to modern times have been fascinated by lucid dreams and have sought ways to better understand their causes and purpose. Many different theories have emerged as a result of scientific research on the subject and have even been shown in pop culture. Further developments in psychological research have pointed to ways in which this form of dreaming may be utilized as a form of sleep therapy.
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Having an occasional strange dream isn’t unusual—but sometimes they can border on a nightmare, resulting in stress and lost sleep. If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone: More than 50 percent of adults have nightmares or intense visions at night. The latter is known as lucid dreams and can be so vivid that you wake up certain they really happened. They go beyond run-of-the-mill stressful dreams (like the ones where you’re running late for an important meeting and all the doors are locked, or you show up at a party only to realize you’re not wearing any clothes). Lucid dreams can feel incredibly real and may leave you shaken as a result. Understand more about this kind of dream and learn tips for better sleep—fast.
Dreams and psychosis share several important features regarding symptoms and underlying neurobiology, which is helpful in constructing a testable model of, for example, schizophrenia and delirium. The purpose of the present communication is to discuss two major concepts in dreaming and psychosis that have received much attention in the recent literature: insight and dissociation. Both phenomena are considered functions of higher-order consciousness because they involve metacognition in the form of reflective thought and attempted control of negative emotional impact. Insight in dreams is a core criterion for lucid dreams.
Lucid dreams are usually accompanied by attempts to control the dream plot and dissociative elements akin to depersonalization and derealization. These concepts are also relevant to psychotic illness. Whereas insightfulness can be considered innocuous in lucid dreaming and even advantageous in psychosis, the concept of dissociation is still unresolved. The present review compares correlates and functions of insight and dissociation in lucid dreaming and psychosis. This is helpful in understanding the two concepts with regard to psychological function as well as neurophysiology.
Lucid dreaming may be associated with narcolepsy, a clinical sleep disorder that causes people to fall asleep quickly at any point during the day. Many people with this condition report having extremely vivid, strange dreams that feel true to real life.
The reason behind vivid night dreams in those with narcolepsy may be related to the stage of sleep called REM, or rapid-eye-movement. A person with narcolepsy often enters this deep dream stage very quickly, which means he or she has the chance to experience a vivid dream in a short amount of time.
Although you can’t control vivid dreams, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of them occurring. For instance, not getting enough sleep may increase the risk of having nightmares, so be sure to tuck in at a reasonable hour and keep your room cool and dark. Following a regular sleep, the routine is also an easy way to lower the chances of vivid dreams at night.
While there’s no cure for narcolepsy and you can’t prevent every lucid dream from disturbing your slumber, there are ways to improve the sleep you’re getting. Consider taking a daily nap, fitting regular exercise into your routine, and avoiding sleep-disrupting nicotine and alcohol. If none of these lifestyle changes seem to help, talk with your doctor about your experience to see if there are other medical ways to handle it.
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The term ‘lucid dream’ was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article A Study of Dreams, though descriptions of dreamers being aware that they are dreaming predate the actual term. Eeden studied his personal dreams since 1896.
He named seven different types of dreams: initial dreams, pathological, ordinary dreaming, vivid dreaming, demoniacal, general dream-sensations, and lucid dreaming. Frederick Van Eeden said the seventh type of dreaming, lucid dreaming, was the most interesting and worthy of the most careful observation of studies. Eeden studied lucid dreaming between January 20, 1898, and December 26, 1912. While describing this state of dreaming, Eeden said, ‘you are completely aware of your surroundings and are able to direct your actions freely, yet the sleep is stimulating and uninterrupted.’
In the last 20 years, psychophysiologist Dr. Stephen LaBerge has become the pioneer of lucid dreaming research. Not only did he invent one of the most popular lucid dreaming techniques, but he has led many scientific studies on the subject.
LaBerge’s work has helped researchers discover the therapeutic benefits of lucid dreaming. It may be useful in treating conditions like PTSD, recurring nightmares, and anxiety. Lucid dreaming usually happens spontaneously. However, it’s possible to learn how to lucid dream through various methods.
Lucid dreaming techniques train your mind to notice your own consciousness. They’re also designed to help you regain or maintain consciousness as you enter REM sleep. Reality testing, or reality checking, is a form of mental training. It increases metacognition by training your mind to notice your own awareness.
According to Cognitive NeuropsychiatryTrusted Source, your level of metacognition is similar in your waking and dreaming states. So, higher metacognition when you’re awake could lead to higher metacognition when you’re dreaming.
This may be related to the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in both reality testing and lucid dreaming. To enhance your metacognition, you can do reality tests while you’re awake.
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Typically, when we dream, we are not conscious that the dream is not real. As a character from the movie Inception quite aptly puts it, “Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them right? It’s only when we wake up then we realize that something was actually strange.” However, some of us are able to enter a dream and be fully aware of the fact that we are actually dreaming.
“A lucid dream is defined as a dream during which dreamers, while dreaming, are aware they are dreaming,” specialists explain.
The very first record of lucid dreaming appears to feature in the treatise On Dreams by the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In it, he describes an instance of self-awareness during a dream state.
“[If] the sleeper perceives that he is asleep and is conscious of the sleeping state during which the perception comes before his mind, it presents itself still, but something within him speaks to this effect: ‘The image of Koriskos presents itself, but the real Koriskos is not present,'” he wrote.
It is unclear how many people actually experience lucid dreaming, though certain studies have tried to gather information regarding its prevalence; and it seems that this phenomenon may be quite common.
For instance, a study conducted in Brazil surveyed 3,427 participants with a median age of 25. The results of the survey indicated that 77 percent of the respondents had experienced lucid dreaming at least once.
When does it happen, and what is it like?
Like most dreams, lucid dreaming will typically occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. For some people, it occurs spontaneously. However, others train themselves to start dreaming lucidly, or to become better at it.
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Many people use a dream journal, or dream diary, to aid lucid dreaming. Writing down your dreams forces you to recall them.
To keep a dream journal, keep a notebook and pen beside your bed. Write down your dream as soon as you wake up. Read your journal regularly to familiarize your brain with your dreams. Your level of consciousness is similar when you’re awake and dreaming. So, by increasing your awareness during your waking state, you can enhance your awareness during your dreaming state. Reality testing is a popular way to do this. It trains your mind to recognize your own awareness while you’re awake.
The method involves doing reality checks throughout the day. As reality testing becomes a habit, you’ll be able to induce awareness while dreaming.
Popular reality checks include:
- Finger through the palm. Push your fingers against your opposite palm. If they pass through, you are dreaming.
- Mirrors. In a dream state, your reflection won’t look normal.
- Nose pinch. Pinch your nose. You’ll be able to breathe if you’re in a dream.
- Reading. Look away from the text then look back again. If you’re dreaming, the text will change.
- Tattoos. If you have tattoos, look at them. They’ll look different in a dream.
Choose one reality check and do it several times a day. You may have to experiment with different reality checks to determine which works best for you.
Try induction techniques
While lucid dreaming often happens randomly, it’s possible to initiate lucid dreaming through induction techniques.
These methods include:
- Wake back to bed (WBTB). Wake up five hours after bedtime. When you go back to sleep, you’ll be more likely to enter REM sleep while you’re still conscious.
- Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD). Tell yourself that you will lucid dream tonight. You can do it before bed or when you’re awake during WBTB.
- Wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD). In WILD, you enter REM sleep from wakefulness while maintaining your consciousness. It involves lying down until you have a hypnagogic hallucination.
Is it bad to lucid dream?
Nope. Lucid Dreaming is not really dangerous. Although some people would like you to believe it is, maybe they’ve had a bad experience, or maybe they weren’t even in control of their dreams, to begin with. It’s not dangerous, and you have nothing to worry about when you try to Lucid Dream.
How do you have a lucid dream?
- 1. Make your bedroom hospitable to dreaming.
- Keep a dream journal.
- Recognize your dream signs.
- Perform reality checks.
- Use the MILD technique.
- Try going back to sleep.
- Induce sleep paralysis. …
Use the Wake Back to Bed technique.
What happens when you lucid dream?
During non-REM, your brain waves, heartbeat, and eye movements gradually slow down. Lucid dreaming, like most dreams, usually happens during REM sleep. In a lucid dream, you know that you‘re dreaming. You‘re aware of your awareness during the dream state.